OAKMAN, Ala. (WIAT) — Volunteer firefighters in Oakman are continuing to respond to calls, even after their building was ransacked early Thursday morning, and several items were stolen.
“They are volunteers and in their eyes, they volunteer to come out and help the citizens,” said Oakman Police Chief Mckinsley Marbury. “And that one of their own citizens could possibly come out and put them three or four steps behind helping someone else?” Marbury trailed off shaking his head.
Marbury told CBS 42 that he got a call from a tipster about some suspicious behavior near the station. Someone had been seen walking past, empty-handed, only to return a short time later with three bags full of property.
Marbury followed through with the tip and was able to arrest and charge Richard Gardner, 35, with third-degree burglary and first-degree theft of property. Law enforcement believe Gardner allegedly got into the building through a window in the back, which has since been boarded up.
“To my understand, one of the items was over $5,000 and that it was a very key item that goes on the truck,” Marbury explained.
The department does not have an estimated value on all the property that was taken. According to Marbury, they are still discovering things that are missing.
While officers were still on the scene, Oakman volunteer firefighters were called to the scene of a crash. Despite their supplies being in disarray, they rose to the occasion.
“They loaded up what they had and went to the scene,” Murray said. “They properly took care of who they needed to take care of.”
Firefighters are still trying to recover the remainder of the missing property. Fire Chief Shane Calloway told CBS 42 that the items are labelled, and that they are asking people to keep an eye out for them in the event that they turn up for sale in pawn shops or other locations.