The thief or thieves were nothing if not thorough. Chief John Wilson discovered the break-in at the moss Bluff VFD Tuesday. He says they concentrated on anything brass or copper including radiators, radios, lights, sirens, condensers and even the brass couplings that hold the hoses together. The total dollar value?
"I know they're older trucks but to replace them with new.. I won't say new trucks but useable trucks.. we're probably looking at 150-thousand dollars range." he says.
Moss Bluff is a small rural volunteer department. It does get some money from the country every time it makes a run, but the overwhelming percentage of the money it get is from fundraisers and from the volunteer's pockets.
In the meantime they can't make runs. None. Other departments can cover their territory thanks to mutual aid agreements, but that will mean slower response times.
A deputy from The Liberty County Sheriff's Office was able to get some finger prints from where they broke in so there's hope of catching whoever did this. Speaking of that, who would do this? Who would put people's lives and property in jeopardy for a few bucks worth of scrap metal? Captain Ken Defoor has a theory.
"Sadly.. the way our society is now most of these kinds of thefts have to do with drug trafficking in one form or another... One seels thing things for a few pennies on the dollar to go buy drugs."
That's his guess.. at least for now. The department has ponied up two grand for a reward and because they hit a truck from the Hull-Daisetta Department too it put up and additional two grand. One way or the other Defoor is pretty confident they'll make an arrest.. not so confident about when they'll be able to make things right.
"It will take this department a very long time to recoup anything where they can start serving the public again."
The county commission recently passed an ordinance to tightly regulate scrap metal dealers to make it tougher for metal thieves, but it hasn't gone into effect yet.