A Lynnfield firefighter gave new meaning to the “Have a Coke and a Smile” ad campaign.
John H. Walsh was arrested last week after police allege he walked into a Rhode Island convenience store naked and bought a Diet Coke.
The 60-year-old fire captain, who has been on the force since 1979, faces a charge of disorderly conduct.
In a 911 call last Wednesday at 3 p.m. from the 7-Eleven in Middleton, the clerk told police a man entered the store without any clothes, and drove away in a black Mercedes Benz after making a purchase.
Minutes later, police stopped Walsh’s car. When asked by the officer why he was being stopped, Walsh said “It was probably because I went into the store to buy a Coke naked,” according to the police report.
The front passenger identified herself as Tammy McDougal. Both were clothed.
McDougal, who said she was Walsh’s girlfriend, told police she dared him to enter the store naked because Walsh had said it was “legal” in Rhode Island.
In an interview with police, Donna Beebe, owner of the 7-Eleven, said Walsh bought a Coca Cola and approached the register with a smile on his face with his genitals exposed.
Lynnfield Fire Chief Glenn Davis said Walsh has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
“I hold my staff to a very high standard,” he said. “Beyond that, I can’t comment on personnel matters.”
Walsh did not return calls seeking comment.
State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said he was unfamiliar with the case, but noted firefighters, like all public servants, must be worthy of the public’s trust.
“It’s fair to say the public has high expectations of public safety personnel,” he said. “For the most part, firefighters rise to that challenge.”