WINGATE - The Wingate Volunteer Fire Department officials reported a theft of their main fire hall Thursday, June 14 that included electronic equipment, uniforms, boots, helmets, fire nozzles, battery chargers and other gear essential to the department.

WINGATE - The Wingate Volunteer Fire Department officials reported a theft of their main fire hall Thursday, June 14 that included electronic equipment, uniforms, boots, helmets, fire nozzles, battery chargers and other gear essential to the department.

Assistant Fire Chief John Pierik III said he reported the theft to the Runnels County Sheriff’s Department adding that the theft occurred between May 5 and June 14.

Deputy Dawn Sumrall took the report, Sheriff Carl Squyres reported.

“We are not sure what all can be recovered,” Squyres said. “This is going to be a difficult case.”

Pierik said the items stolen from the fire hall between which is owned by Runnels County were valued between $4,000 and $6,000.

“The items were not covered under the county’s deductible,” Pierik said. “They were not valued at enough to be covered under the deductible.”

Squyres said recovering the items may be difficult because they did not have serial numbers on all the equipment.

Pierik said that at least two of the stolen radios were embossed with the Runnels County logo.

“They would be immediately identifiable at a pawn shop,” Pierik said.

Pierik said firefighters noticed the items missing on Thursday when they were called to fight a grass fire in north Runnels County.

The Wingate Volunteer Fire and Rescue covers northwest Runnels County, southwest Taylor County, southeast Nolan County and northeast Coke County. Of those counties, The department receives a small amount of annual funding from Runnels and Taylor counties.

Pierik said that the fact that someone stole the fire fighting equipment very concerning.

“It is extremely disheartening that our trust in the world has left us at a loss,” he said. “They took advantage of our trust and the entire community - we are upset that the community is suffering.”

He said it is unknown whether all the items were stolen all at once or over a period of time. He believes that the theft may have taken place when the department was out on a fire call.

“We leave the doors open when we roll on a fire,” Pierik said. “Like every department in the U.S. does.”

He said the loss will not affect the department’s ability to fight fires.

“There is nothing that we did before that we won’t be able to do,” Pierik said. “We won’t be at a loss, we just have to change some of our procedures.”

For now, Pierik and the 20 members of Wingate Fire and Rescue are hoping to recover the loss via donations.

They currently have a place on Facebook where donations can be made at https://www.facebook.com/donate/1669857776446681/ or they may be mailed to the Wingate Post Office at P.O. Box 107 Wingate, TX 79566.