I joined the Fire department in 2009 as a volunteer, going through there academy and training. I was actively volunteering at this time.
I went on Craigslist to buy some fire memorabilia, I found a nice looking helmet and turnout coat for cheep and looked in good condition so I bought them both for $340. Had them for about a year looking great on my (what I call my fire wall). one night my wife called me and asked for my help with paying her rent. She had made a stupid remark about spending over $300 on some fire helmet and fire coat but had such a difficult time helping her. So, that ticked me of just enough to put the helmet and coat back on craigslist. Well I Had a call from someone about the ad I put out, nice sounding guy, so he asked if I could send him more pic's of the helmet and coat and one of the pic's that he wanted was one of the numbers on the inside of the coat so I thought cool no biggy so I took the pictures and sent them to him. Later that day I got a call from my department telling me that I need to come to the station and put away my turnout gear and boots and all my stuff from in back of the engine and put it away,so I walked across the street to the main station (I lived right across the street from the station) and proceeded to put my gear away when I was called in to the office. The Chief pointed over to the computer screen and I noticed an email page was up on the screen. He asked me if I had sent the email and I looked at the screen and it was the email that I had with a buyer for the helmet and coat. The chief sat me down and explained to me why he was letting me go from the department. He told me they are tuff when it comes to stealing from this department. I proceeded to explain how, when, where, why and everything else about how I got the helmet and the coat. Apparently the coat and the helmet that I had bought on craigslist and sold on craigslist was stolen from the department that I was working. The guy that had me send him more pic's of the helmet and coat sent the email to my department (some how) and blamed me for stealing the helmet and coat and let me go. I noticed that one of the attachment pic's that I sent of the numbers in the coat was enlarged. That is how they knew it was there's, the numbers. I tryed explaining to the Chief but nope. I was blamed and let go because I didn't check the numbers before I bought them. I have always dreamed of being a firefighter and had both feet in. now Im done for in the field. CHECK #s..
So what you are saying is you bought gear from Craigslist, that was stolen from your own department? You state you had it for a year and you were unaware that the gear was from your department. The numbers you are talking about, are you referring to the serial numbers? I have bought gear from time to time off of the internet. Even if I ask the seller for the numbers how is anyone supposed to know if it is stolen or not?
That sounds pretty bad on so many levels. You said you joined in 09. Was that before or after the said gear was ripped off? IF the answer to that first question is Before.. then FETC is right.. how..or even why would you know or think it might be stollen? In that case, if it were me, I would tell the chief you must seek legal council. Being accused and convicted without due course is not right either. But, if the answer to that question is after.. yikes? It strikes me as odd that if a person's own dept. was ripped off, and the members were aware of it, would it not make sense to do the due diligence before buying? Without more info, such as timing, and if you were considered a bad ass..maybe someone set you up.. someone with no balls.. just to eliminate you from the dept. As sickening as that sounds..it has been done. Seriously think about talking to a lawyer. I don't think anyone can fire you (even if it's volunteer) based on coincidence and without representation. Maybe I am wrong. I would check and talk with someone in the know. Good luck.
Check numbers is your point of this post? Let's say you checked them before you bought said item(s), what would have that told you? Were you aware of the theft when it happened along with item descriptions and serial numbers? If so wouldn't you have outed the guy who sold them to you when you bought them if you did check the numbers. Why isn't that happening now? I didn't see anything in your post concerning your help in nabbing the real thief. I can see why fingers are pointing at you. Go prove them wrong and see a lawyer like Brian suggested and through lawyer give info to police to help them get the low life who stole from a FD. Let us know and good luck.
Call me cynical but how the hell did you not know the gear came from your own FD? No identifying name on the back of the coat? No helmet front on the helmet? Seems either fishy or you may be the dumbest guy alive...
My department doesn't have the department name on any of our gear. I'd guess they didn't want to pay extra for customization. I'd know where to look and recognize any of our inventory numbers as a red flag but I'd guess some of the newer firefighters who have never participated in a gear inventory might not recognize it.
That being said if you buy fire gear that is the same model as that issued by your department from someone in your immediate area that should set off a red flag for you.
I have to agree with Don. I know in our station we have the last 2-3 iterations of our bunker gear in lockers in the back room (back to the old 3/4 coats), and I know what all of them look like.
There's a couple things in your post that jumped out at me right away that would have led me to ask some questions. 1) Craigslist. Let's face it, dumb criminals use CL all the time to unload stolen merchandise. Caveat Emptor. 2) Structural FF gear listed on CL, in decent shape, and listed at a price about 1/4 of what the gear would be worth new. What year was this gear put into service - if it was still inside, or only a couple years outside of, the NFPA 10-year service window, I'd certainly be suspicious.
I'm sure at the time you were stoked to find gear for sale online that matched that used by your department, and probably didn't want to risk cluing someone else in on this "great deal" you found, but the smart thing to do would have been ask an officer at the time about it. The old saying "If it looks too good to be true, it probably is" most definitely applies here.
And there's another side to this equation.... When rookie FF's enter the fire service (keep in mind, this is still fresh in my mind), we are told "Don't take your gear home." When you start getting into classes, it's explained that the toxic gasses in a fire absorb into the gear, and it takes time for them to offgas out. If you don't know the history of the gear, you don't know what kinds of incidents it has been in - you have no way of knowing that coat wasn't involved in a major hazmat incident, sent to be destroyed, and instead sold by some unscrupulous handler. Why would you willingly bring that into your home on a permanent basis?
This being said, if you HAPPEN to still have the emails from when you bought the gear in the first place, (one of the reasons I almost NEVER delete email) you might try to make one last appeal to your chief, print off the emails with the date/time stamps and all message header information and take it in to him. If you happen to have paid with a check, and happen to still have the cancelled check or the bank's scanned image of it to go along with it, you MIGHT be able to convince him that you didn't steal the gear. But I can pretty much guarantee if they even consider your story, they're going to ask you the same questions that have been raised here.
At the end of the day, you're between a rock and a hard place. Not only are you in possession of stolen property, you are trying to sell it online.
Apparently Dan didn't get handed the tissues and sympathy he expected so he ran away.