$10,000 in firefighting equipment stolen off Tacoma firetruck

“It’s aggravating and frustrating. This was the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this. I’d heard stories about it happening up in Seattle."

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
Firefighters in Pierce County, Washington are missing life-saving equipment after criminals ransacked their firetruck while it was parked at a grocery store.

According to KOMO News, firefighters of Pierce County Fire District 13, serving Browns Point and Dash Point, parked the fire engine at the QFC on 49th Ave NE on Monday when the theft occurred.

The outlet reported that citizens ran inside the store to tell the firefighters that someone was going through the truck.

The firefighters ran outside but it was too late. They were just in time to witness the criminal speeding away in a white pickup truck with a U-Haul trailer with the equipment.

The outlet reported that District 13 only has a few employees and is operated by mostly volunteers and the replacement costs of the stolen equipment will run at least $10,000, a big hit to the small department.

Lt. Dylan Tapia told KOMO, “It’s aggravating and frustrating. This was the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this. I’d heard stories about it happening up in Seattle.”

He added, “They ruined our ability to do a lot of stuff we are here to do.”

Seattle firefighters are regularly the targets of assault, vandalism, and theft.

Over the summer, thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment from a fire truck in Seattle.

In July, while firefighters were battling a warehouse fire in Seattle, they interrupted a theft while it was in progress and managed to prevent anything from being taken.

In June, there were also two separate incidents of people attempting to steal fire engines while crews were responding to calls and the department has reported an uptick in fires that were intentionally set in areas where some of the thefts and assaults occurred.

As a result, despite a massive staffing shortage, two crew members are now required to stay with the unit while on non-emergency work.

Tapia noted, “We don’t have that luxury of leaving somebody on an apparatus to wait behind and make sure somebody doesn’t come pick and pull at our apparatus.”

Firefighter Alandra Swords told KOMO, “We aren’t able to get a lot of this equipment off the shelves, and we can’t just go to Lowes. A lot of it has to be specially ordered. Some of it has a wait list that could put us months and thousands of dollars behind. We absolutely have to keep our guard up.”

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
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