Tampa man arrested for wearing stolen valor

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — A Tampa man has been arrested after the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says they found him fraudulently wearing a military uniform and aggressively soliciting money for veterans.

Deputies say they found Freemane Brown, 54, at a grocery store on E Bearss Ave in Tampa wearing a U.S. Navy uniform with a rank of Commander and 21 ribbons to include the Navy Cross and Silver Star, along with the Navy Seal Trident and Jump Wings. Deputies observed many of the items on the military uniform were not in compliance to standard military regulations.

Deputies contacted the manager of the store who said she gave permission to Brown two days earlier to stand outside the store since she believed Brown was a veteran.

During questioning, deputies say Brown first made statements he was a former member of Seal Team Six and was traveling all over the world. However after further questioning, Brown admitted he was never a Navy Officer nor a Navy Seal.

Deputies say he allegedly purchased all of his military insignia including the Navy uniform at a local Army/Navy surplus store. Deputies also noted Brown had a name tag on the uniform but it was covered with a small piece of black tape.

Brown voluntarily surrendered all of the military insignia at the scene. He was arrested at his home on Wednesday for a felony charge of unlawful use of uniforms, medals, or insignia and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail.

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