Thief rips off fire department radios

The Comanche County Sheriff's Department is investigating a burglary of the Cove Acres Volunteer Fire Department, after $27,000 worth of new 800 megahertz radios were stolen overnight.

Cove Acres Fire Chief Matthew Eccles said he went to the fire department this morning and noticed the door to the department was open and damaged.

"Just stunned.  This is the first time this has ever happened out here," Eccles said.  "Just to have our fire department be broken into is quite shocking."

Even more shocking is what was stolen.  The ten new 800 MHZ radios were purchased by the county through a Homeland Security grant as part of a county-wide upgrade to the newer 800 MHZ frequency.  While the radios do have a value of $2,700 per radio, they're now worthless.

"At this time, the radios have been turned off," said Comanche County Emergency Management Director Clint Wagstaff.  "They're not good for anything."

The radios do have serial numbers on them and are engraved with the Cove Acres Fire Department name.

In addition to the radios about $2,500 worth of various fire equipment was also taken overnight.  That equipment was purchased with a federal FEMA grant, and like the radios, belong to Comanche County but are federal property.

According to the Comanche County Public Information Office, the sheriff's department "wants the public to know that anyone with any such information can remain anonymous and can arrange for the items to be picked up (or dropped off) without any questions asked."

If you have a tip or have the radios you can call the Comanche County Sheriff's Office at (580) 353-4280 or (580) 353-4282.  You can also call Crimestoppers at (580) 355-INFO.