By Ted Scouten

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BROWARD (CBSMiami) – The search is on for crooks targeting the cars of first responders outside of local firehouses.

Car after car with smashed in windows.  They’re all in gated parking lots at Fort Lauderdale-area fire stations.

“We know these individuals targeted the fire stations. They were probably looking for firearms. There were some firearms that were taken,” said Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Veda Coleman-Wright.

A total of four guns were taken from burglarized cars at two Fort Lauderdale fire stations. Six more were stolen from a Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue station.  In all, crooks smashed 33 vehicles.

“They do believe, obviously, that these are connected, that these fire houses are being targeted and that is not random,” said Coleman-Wright.

The break-ins happened late Saturday into Sunday at two Fort Lauderdale first stations and a BSO station relatively close to each other in south Fort Lauderdale. There was another one a week prior in West Park. In each case, the crooks smashed car windows and grabbed whatever they could. The vehicles belonged to officers, deputies and firefighters.

“It’s just a shame to think that while these law enforcement officers and firefighters are working, some were on duty at the time when their cars were burglarized, that someone would come in, break into their cars and steal items,” said Coleman-Wright.

Detectives from the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and BSO are working together to figure out who’s responsible.

Break-ins like this have happened before. In September, there were 30 vehicles broken into at fire stations in Miami Beach, northwest Miami-Dade and West Little River.  It happened just after Hurricane Irma, while firefighters were working long hours. They found it discouraging.

“We’re here, serving the community during a hurricane – left our families, left our homes,” said firefighter Walter Marquez. “It’s a disappointment to come back to the station and see your car broken into.”

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