Firefighter Swipes SCUBA Gear Intended for Boater Search: Police

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    A suburban Philadelphia firefighter allegedly admitted to stealing thousands in rescue gear that could have been used in the search for a missing boater.

    The theft of $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 week.

    Lower Southampton Police said that the yet-to-be-identified firefighter took the gear from the Station 6 along Elmwood Avenue and pawned much of the equipment at area pawn shops.

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

    The missing boater still hasn’t been found.

    After a short investigation, detectives brought the longtime volunteer firefighter in for questioning on Wednesday and the man allegedly confessed to taking the SCUBA gear.

    He allegedly only got about $9,000 to 10,000 for the equipment that was valued three times higher, according to police Det. Shane Hearn.

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

    Hearn said that the suspect is expected to turn himself in in the next couple of weeks to face burglary, theft, criminal trespass and related charges.