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On-Duty Firefighters Hit By Thieves

On-Duty Firefighters Hit By Thieves

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London Free Press via YellowBrix

July 13, 2010

BAYFIELD, UK – Thieves who made off with the possessions of volunteer firefighters in Bayfield while they battled a small boat blaze showed unbelievable nerve and disrespect, a firefighter says.

The firefighter, who asked not to be named, said his flashing green dashboard light that lets motorists know he’s responding to a call was stolen while his car was at the fire hall Sunday night.

“My kids bought it with their own money and (someone) stole it,” he said. Earlier this year, his green light and a global positioning system were stolen from his car while at home.

“It’s the disrespect” that’s so galling, he said.

Items were stolen from three vehicles at the fire station during that call in Bayfield, Huron OPP Const. Joanna Van Mierlo said. They included a GPS, wallet and the flashing green light.

Thefts are a crime at any time, but volunteer firefighters are putting their lives on the line, she said.

“That is even more scummy because these people are out on a call and they’re serving their community.”

The three vehicles had been — like about 95% of thefts from cars — left unlocked, Van Mierlo said. “People just don’t lock up their stuff. . . . It’s so preventable and it’s so frustrating.”

The firefighter said his colleagues are usually more interested in getting quickly to the hall and to a fire than ensuring they roll up windows, remove valuables and lock the vehicles.

He said people who think crime doesn’t happen in a quiet resort town had better think again.

“We get lulled into a false sense of security,” Van Mierlo agreed.

She said thefts happen several times a day from unlocked vehicles and from locked vehicles where valuables are left in plain view.

“It is predominantly a crime of opportunity, and we allow this to happen to ourselves.”

In this instance, the boat fire was minor.

Police ask anyone who may have seen anything suspicious at the fire hall to call them at 1-800-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.