Suspect Denies Involvement In Theft Of OK Fire Trucks
LEACH, Oklahoma - Search crews found two fire trucks stolen from two volunteer fire departments, but the damage is severe.
Security camera footage shows two men breaking into Leach's station. Investigators said they drove away then used the truck to ram into the Oaks Department where they stole a second truck.
From the air an OHP Aircraft Division pilot spotted the two stolen fire trucks. On the ground, we got a closer look at the damage - trees now brushed with fire engine red and medical supplies strewn about.
“It's crazy. It’s just unbelievable,” said Chief Tom Pearce with the Leach Volunteer Fire Department.
Assistant Chief Chad Strong with the Oaks Volunteer Fire Department said, “It's pretty hard to take; been a lot of work and time put in these trucks.”
The Oaks truck is totaled and Leach's is in rough shape, possibly totaled.
All of the medical supplies are gone, including the Jaws of Life - a $30,000 piece of equipment.
“It’s hard to believe the extent someone will go to get a few things,” Pearce said.
The trucks were dumped on private land in Cherokee County in a remote area about a mile away from the nearest road.
The thieves drove the trucks in on such rough terrain that there's no way they can go out the same way they came in, so crews came in with chain saws and a road grader so they could get the trucks back out.
Strong said, “Couldn't believe it. Walking up through here you wouldn't think a truck could come anywhere close to getting back in here. You could hardly walk it much less drive it.”
About four miles from where the trucks were found, troopers arrested Derrick Taylor for outstanding warrants. They said he tried to hide when spotted by OHP's pilot.
He's being questioned, and Cherokee County deputies called him a suspect, even though he told us he had nothing to do with the thefts.
And to whoever's responsible, the volunteers with Leach and Oaks have plenty to say - just not on the news.
“I don't think you could put that on TV,” Pearce and Strong agreed.
Both departments have insurance, but not enough to cover the costs of the damage and what was taken.