While members of Fairview Fire & Rescue were out on an ambulance call on Friday night, someone was back at the fire hall, helping themselves to department equipment and the personal items of its members.
When department officials learned of the burglary a day later, they spread the word on Facebook and posted images of the trespasser that were captured by the station’s security cameras.
That effort helped catch a suspect, according to the Pennsylvania State Police.
Gage T. Adams, 25, of West Springfield, was arraigned late Tuesday afternoon on charges including felony burglary and criminal trespass in the break-in at Fairview Fire & Rescue’s station at 7190 West Ridge Road.
Troopers wrote in the criminal complaint against Adams that he was identified as a suspect through a photograph posted on the fire department’s Facebook page. They also wrote that state police in Girard received a call from a relative of Adams who identified him as the individual in the photo.
Adams is not a member of Fairview Fire & Rescue and never has been one, department President Phil Jackson said Wednesday.
State police accuse Adams of entering the fire station through a west door shortly before 9:30 p.m. on Friday. Investigators wrote in the affidavit that the suspect was seen on surveillance video searching through cabinets and removing items off firetrucks.
Jackson said Wednesday that the department tries to keep its station secure, but the burglary suspect managed to find a door that had malfunctioned and was not secure and entered through it after trying to open a few other locked doors on the building.
The suspect left the station at 9:52 p.m. when an ambulance began pulling back into the station. The suspect was last seen walking northbound from the building, according to information in the affidavit.
Items reported stolen in the burglary included a flashlight and an ice pack belonging to the department, according to state police. Some items belonging to department members, including a junior member’s earbuds, were also taken, Jackson said.
Jackson said he and other department officials learned of the burglary on Saturday, after they received information about another theft in Fairview Township in which equipment from the fire department was reportedly left at that theft scene. He said officials went through the station’s security camera footage and found video of the suspect inside the station on Friday night.
The burglary was reported to state police, which sent troopers to the station shortly before 8:30 p.m. Saturday, according to information in Adams’ criminal complaint.
Adams was placed in the Erie County Prison on a $75,000 bond following his arraignment by McKean District Judge Denise Stuck-Lewis. He is tentatively scheduled to appear in court for his preliminary hearing on Nov. 23.
Contact Tim Hahn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ETNhahn.
This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Erie County burglaries: Man charged in break-in at Fairview fire hall