MIAMI (CBSMiami) — At least 19 vehicles belonging to firefighters have been broke into since Hurricane Irma, including two separate incidents Friday.
Six vehicles were burglarized Friday morning at the West Little River Fire Station at 9350 N.W. 22nd Street.
The firefighters, many of whom assisted in hurricane relief efforts, were stunned to find themselves targeted.
“They broke the windows of my Ram vehicle and took my personal belongings,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Walter Marquez, after he was hit early in the morning after Irma struck. “We had been working since Saturday. We were activated because of the hurricane and we came back to that. It was a little disappointment.”
Fourteen vehicles were tampered with then. Of those, three were broken into.
“They took most of the personal belongings that we had picked up from our homes,” said Lt. Marquez. “We had packed up our vehicles in case of some major damage from the hurricane.”
Another 10 vehicles at Miami Beach’s Fire Station #19, at 650 N.W. 131st Street, were burglarized Friday morning, as well. Four weapons were stolen.
“Just last week some of these firefighters were in the Florida Keys rendering aid and now they need our help,” said Miami Beach Police Ofc. Ernesto Rodriguez. “It shows that no one is exempt from crime.”
It isn’t known specifically if the same person or group is responsible for both crimes.
“It seems like the guys, this time, are getting smarter and many are targeting fire stations,” said Lt. Marquez.
Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez urged the community to help.
“Even though this happened to us, we still continue to show up and serve,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Felipe Lay.
So far, police have not discovered any surveillance tape and have no leads.
“If you know anything, we would definitely appreciate it,” said Lt. Marquez. “We are here to serve the public with the same values we hold. If they know anything, we would like to get our stuff back. We work hard for our belongings and we are here to serve the community during hurricanes and we left our home to serve the community. And so it was a disappointment to come back here and see our cars broken into.”
If you know anything, call Miami-Dade CrimeStoppers at (305) 471-TIPS. There’s a $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.