VOLUNTEER firefighters are reeling after thieves broke in and stole equipment worth thousands of dollars from two Rural Fire Service fire sheds last week.
Last Wednesday night, the thieves stole $7000 worth of equipment, including chainsaws, GPS units, radios, recovery gear including winches and slings and an air compressor from the Potato Point RFS shed.
Also on Wednesday night, thieves tried unsuccessfully to break into Candalagan RFS station at Broulee.
Then Friday night, thieves broke into Bingi RFS station and stole radios and GPS units.
Potato Point deputy captain and equipment officer Brian Kennedy arrived at the brigade’s shed on Thursday about 9.40am to find a broken window and the facility in disarray.
“They really ransacked the place and knew what they were looking for,” Mr Kennedy said.
Police gathered forensic information from the site on Thursday morning.
Candalagan RFS captain Paul Cannon discovered the attempted theft when he went to the station at 7.30am on Thursday to carry out maintenance work on a new truck.
“The door was partly open and had been damaged, but the lock had held thank God,” he said.
“We were very lucky.”
He says people forget that RFS firefighters are volunteers, making these blows even lower.
“A great deal of fundraising we have to do ourselves,” he said.
He has no trouble empathising with the Potato Point and Bingi volunteers.
“We got hit about 10 or 15 years ago and all our radios were stolen,” he said.
Anyone with any information relating to the theft or who have been offered any of the equipment should phone Moruya Police on 4474 2444 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.
Eurobodalla Shire Council mayor Lindsay Brown was “very disgusted” at the theft and said council would do everything it could to replace the equipment, which is owned by council and maintained by the RFS units.
“The RFS volunteers do so much fundraising in the community and then they get treated like this,” he said.
“I hope this will galvanise the community behind the RFS. We will ensure that the RFS units are fully capable as soon as possible.”
Far South Coast RFS team manager John Cullen said it was “extremely disappointing” that people would steal equipment used to protect the community.
“It is disheartening that we would have someone in the community do this,” he said.
List of stolen goods stolen from the Potato Point Rural Fire Service Shed:
Stihl MS291 chainsaw including 16” cutter bar (brand new)
Husqvarna 357 XP 359
Husqvarna model unknown
18” cutter bar with green markings
25” cutter bar with yellow markings
3/8 chainsaw chain
18” cutter bar (spare)
Green canvas chainsaw took bag (files, stump vice, guides, etc)
Vehicle ARB recovery bag (shackles, snatch strap, tow rope, sheath block)
Portable Air Compressor
Communications Box (Fat Max) Motorola PMR, transformers, mag base, 6200 UHF phone Samsung SGH-A411 (045 857 516) PMR Base Radio, Leads and Aerials.