(Lawrenceville, Ga., January 8, 2017) – On Sunday, January 8, 2017, during the overnight hours, a rash of vehicle break-ins occurred at four separate Fire Stations and one County Government Building. Unknown individual(s) appear to be targeting the vehicles of on-duty personnel at area fire stations. Break-ins occurred overnight at Fire Station #5 (Old Norcross Road/Duluth) Fire Station #23 (Steve Reynolds Boulevard/Norcross) Fire Station #15 (Lawrenceville Square) Fire Station #31 (Collins Hill Road/GGC) and at a County Building on Russell Road, which was formerly used as Fire Station #10. The vehicle entered on Russell Road was actually a county owned pickup truck. A Fire Inspector’s service vehicle was also entered during the above break-ins.
In each of the vehicle break-ins, a window was broken out, and personal items were removed. A Gwinnett County police officer was checking the parking lot at Fire Station #31 around 2:30 a.m. and encountered a suspect. The individual fled on foot and was not able to be apprehended. The suspect was identified by the officer as a male wearing dark jeans and a hoodie. Unnerving to Fire Officials, is the fact that this is the second time within a week that vehicles in the parking lot of fire stations were targeted.
The rash of vehicle break-ins at fire stations began on Monday, January 2, 2017 at two separate fire station locations. In both incidents, unknown individual(s) gained unlawful entry into several vehicles belonging to firefighters who were working at the fire station at the time. The vehicle break-ins occurred during the overnight hours in the parking lot at Fire Station #9 (Five Forks Trickum Road/Lawrenceville) and at Fire Station #21 (Old Peachtree Road/Suwanee).
The Department is encouraging all on-duty personnel to be mindful of valuables left in their personal vehicles while parked at the fire station and to keep the doors locked at all times. Employees should park in well-lit areas of the parking lot. Police are performing extra patrols to deter further break-ins. “Whether they occur at a fire station, shopping center or private residence, these nefarious acts have no place in our society. Those responsible demonstrate a lack of respect for the personal property of others, especially those who are serving and protecting our community,” said Gwinnett Fire Captain Tommy Rutledge.
The Department is considering additional measures to safe-guard vehicles parked at fire stations and is working closely with law enforcement to make sure that the individual(s) who committed these crimes are held accountable. “We are fortunate that the officer thwarted the crime at Fire Station #31, before items were physically taken or additional vehicles were entered. It’s only a matter of time before those responsible are caught,” Rutledge said.
Anyone with information about the vehicle break-ins at fire stations or within the community are asked to please contact the authorities. To prevent vehicle break-ins, stay alert to your surroundings and report suspicious activity to the police immediately by calling 9-1-1.