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Burglar takes off with $10,000 worth of equipment from Duncans Mills fire station

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Firefighters with the Monte Rio Fire Protection District are ramping up security at the Duncans Mills station after someone broke in and stole about $10,000 worth of equipment between Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman discovered several radios, chainsaws, generators and siren controllers were among items he noticed Sunday morning had been stolen from the station’s fire trucks at the station off Highway 116 west of Monte Rio.

A detective with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the break-in, Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Valencia said Monday. There was no information yet about leads on a potential suspect, but the detective is expected to make a follow-up visit to the fire station, he said.

The station is usually not staffed unless the fire department is responding to an emergency, Baxman said.

“We’re still going through the trucks to figure out what was taken,” said Baxman, who was perplexed that someone left behind more expensive equipment but took things like portable radios. The perpetrator apparently got into the building by breaking the latch on the bathroom window, on the back side of the building facing the Russian River, the fire chief said. The intruder then kicked the screen out, climbed through the window and rummaged through the trucks leaving gear strewn on the floor.

Aside from a motion sensor, there are no cameras or security alarms inside the 36-year-old fire station, Baxman said.

However, he said, “We’re taking precautions to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Baxman said the entire ordeal was “a wake-up call.”

“We’ll get by,” he said. “It’s just sad that people want to steal stuff from fire houses.”

You can reach Staff Writer Yousef Baig at 707-521-5390 or yousef.baig@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @YousefBaig.

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