DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There’s new information tonight on a story first reported on CBS 11 News at Six on Wednesday.
As we reported, while firefighters were grieving the death of Scott Tanksley they were also getting hit by thieves. Some eight vehicles were targeted Wednesday evening outside Fire Station 12.
Police say the suspect showed up again today, but this time firefighters grabbed him before he could get away
The suspect, 17-year-old Jarius Fowler, is being held at Lew Sterrett Jail. Bond information was not available early Friday morning.
While the teenager is charged with burglarizing a home just around the corner from the fire station, he’s also suspected of breaking into firefighters’ vehicles.
With the flags at Station 12 still flying at half-staff, the mourning it signifies didn’t seem to matter to the thieves who targeted firefighter’s personal vehicles parked at the station.
“Then to have someone say, ‘this is the time I want to kick you while you’re down.’ It’s wrong. It’s unacceptable,” Dallas Fire Rescue Lieutenant Joel Lavender said adamantly.
Unfortunately officials admit that it’s not uncommon for thieves to target the bereaved, at Dallas fire stations and at individual residences.
Homeowner Jesse Jacinto lives down the street from Fire Station 12. “They recently put the razor wire around the fence. And I was wondering why they did that? And now I know…they’ve been having issues over there, too.”
Jacinto said he installed a security system and now had guard dogs after neighbors began complaining of break-ins.
“This door right over here got kicked in last year,” he said pointing. “My neighbor’s house over here behind the alley got broken into.”
According to Dallas police reports, this morning firefighters spotted one of the suspects seen breaking into their cars. The person was walking in an alley behind some homes, carrying a flat screen TV and other property. Fire investigators grabbed him and held him for police. Police later learned that items in his possession had been reported stolen from a nearby house where the door had been kicked in.
The suspect, that according to police reports confessed to the home burglary, is being held at the Lew Sterrett Justice center.
“Vehicles have been targeted at fire stations from time to time but, I guess this particular station at this point in time…,” Lt. Lavender said with his voice fading. “That you actually did this two days in a row, while we’re going through the grieving process is bad enough; but, also to do the same thing to our neighbors in the community, that’s even worse.”
Neighbors in and around the area say the firefighters of Station 12 don’t just protect the community — they are a part of it. And the thought of criminals targeting them now, whether deliberate or coincidence, is tough to take.
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