A man is facing a larceny charge after Latta Police say he broke into the town Fire Station and took a rescue vehicle around 4:30 a.m. Monday.
He was found about eight hours later in Nash County North Carolina, thanks in part to an alert Circle K gas station Manager, who saw the suspect pull in and thought something wasn’t right.
“He pulled into pump three, and said he had recently bought the vehicle at a car sale,” said Jennifer Stallings, Manager at Circle K.
Stallings said she has never seen a vehicle with the decals still on with lights sold at auction before.
“He also said he didn’t have any money and was trying to get gas,” said Stallings. “I knew something was up because I know emergency vehicles sold at car sales don’t have the decals on, because you could be impersonating an officer or firefighter.”
Stallings said she alerted the Nash County Sheriff’s Office, who was there within minutes, not before the suspect began to take items out of the back of the SUV.
“He proceeded to drive to the back of the store and began to pull items out the back of the truck and take them apart,” said Stallings. “He was also cutting wires and taking casings off.”
Latta Police Chief Zane Bryant says when the vehicle was returned to the town, the Jaws of Life was heavily damaged. The lifesaving tool alone will cost $20,000 to replace.
“The investigation is very active, but what we do know is the suspect has no known ties to Latta,” said Bryant.
At this time, the name of the suspect is being withheld.
Since the investigation is ongoing, Bryant says the Fire Rescue Department along with the Police Department are currently reviewing policies and procedures.
“We have already starting looking at how things are done and are making changes,” said Bryant.
It is unclear how the suspect was able to break into the fire station and take the vehicle.
The department is looking to have the suspect extradited from North Carolina to Dillion County where more charges are pending.