The Billings Fire Department is asking the public for help finding gear that was stolen from an off-duty firefighter.
Several pieces of gear were stolen out of a firefighter's personal truck while he was at his son's baseball game a few days ago, Billings Fire Department social media director Cameron Abell said. Abell posted on social media Friday morning requesting the public be on the lookout for the missing gear. The original post had been shared more than 500 times on Facebook as of Friday evening.
The equipment was locked in the bed of his truck when it was stolen. A firefighter's pants and coat, a helmet, air mask and a rescue rope bag with rescue equipment, used for Rims rescues, were stolen.
On Thursday night a firefighter found the pants and coat left in the driveway of a fire station, but the helmet, air mask and rescue equipment hadn't been recovered by Friday afternoon, Abell said.
The Billings Police Department are investigating the theft, but the Fire Department wanted help from the public if the thief tries to sell the gear, Abell said.
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"If someone did come into a pawn shop, I’m hoping the social media influence would turn them in," he said. "How do you explain where you got that equipment from?"
The equipment doesn't have too much resale value and it's doubtful any pawn shops will accept the stolen items, but the air mask is fitted with a thermal imagining camera that will be expensive to replace, he said.
This is the second theft of Fire Department equipment this month, he said. Two weeks ago a Fire Department pickup was broken into and a handheld thermal imagining camera, two portable radios and some miscellaneous equipment was stolen. Abell valued the camera at about $5,000.
Police are investigating that theft as well. The recent bout of thefts of the department's equipment is unusual, but the social media response from the community has been positive, he said.
Those with information regarding the stolen gear may call the police’s non-emergency number, 406-657-8200, or call Abell directly at 406-698-2779.