Authorities Search For Suspects Who Burglarized Volunteer Fire Station

Thursday, June 19th 2014, 5:45 pm
By: News 9

The hunt is on for the suspect or suspects who broke into the volunteer fire department, stealing some equipment. But this was not a typical burglary. The thieves were after a very specific item, according to investigators.

Volunteer Fire Chief Brent Balentine first noticed that the break-in happened June 12. He was bringing fuel back to the fire station to top off the trucks after a call the day before.

"The doors were shut but the knobs, or keyless entry pads were gone," said Balentine. "The doors had been busted open with a crowbar."

Balentine said he did a little more checking throughout the station and noticed one of the trucks was not parked up against a wooden block like it always is.

"That truck had been moved and rained on because it had not been out of the building since we started getting rain and I noticed the raindrops on the back of it and we kind of placed it together."

According to Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes, it appears the thieves got their car stuck in some mud. They used a winch of Pumper 2 to pull the vehicle out, but didn't put the pumper back in the right place.

The burglars stole almost two dozen flashlights from the firefighters' gear, a gas tank off one of the brush pumpers and a new defibrillator machine that was donated to the department. Since the team is all volunteers, they rely on donated pieces of equipment like that to improve their response capabilities.

"We could possibly need to use on someone that's in cardiac arrest on a medical call that we're on or it could be used for one of our own men on a call," said Balentine.

Everything stolen has one thing in common and some of the most expensive things inside the station were untouched.

"They were searching for maybe lithium type batteries, which is common, common to be used as a component in the manufacturing of methamphetamine," explained Sheriff Rhodes. "Someone needing that quick fix. One of these meth heads out here searching for battery packs."

Rhodes asked anyone with information about this crime or anyone who comes in contact with the stolen items to call Crime Stoppers where they can remain anonymous and get a reward. That number is 1 (855) 211-STOP.