Firefighter Steals, Pawns SCUBA Search Gear: Police

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Timothy Kennelly of the Lower Southampton Fire Company took about $30,000 worth of the company's scuba gear, according to authorities. (Published Wednesday, May 21, 2014)

    About a month after revelations of SCUBA gear intended to be used in the search for a missing boater gone missing in the Delaware River, the suburban Philadelphia volunteer firefighter accused of swiping the equipment was put behind bars.

    Lower Southampton Police arrested firefighter Timothy Kennelly last Wednesday and announced the arrest Tuesday.

    Kennelly, 26, allegedly admitted to stealing thousands in rescue gear over a four-month period.

    The theft of about $30,000 worth of SCUBA gear from the Lower Southampton Volunteer Fire Department in Trevose, Pa. was only discovered when the first responders were called to assist in a water rescue along the Delaware River last month, according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by NBC10.com.

    Police said they couldn’t do everything they planned to do while searching for boater John Poltonowicz because they didn’t have the equipment.

    Police say Kennelly took the gear from a storage unit rented out by Station 6 along Elmwood Avenue and pawned much of the equipment at nearby Nickels pawn shop for more than $6,800 cash.

    Some of that equipment, which included tanks, face masks, underwater airbags, dry suits, chainsaws and dive regulators, appeared on eBay, according to police.

    After a short investigation, detectives brought Kennelly in for questioning last month and the longtime volunteer firefighter allegedly confessed to taking the SCUBA gear.

    Police said they recovered about 75 percent of the equipment before it was resold.

    Kennelly was arraigned on burglary, theft and receiving stolen property charges Tuesday and remained behind bars in Bucks County Jail unable to post 10 percent of $500,000 bail, according to court records.