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Tampa--Firefighters Respond to call--Return to find Station had been burglarized!

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  • captstanm1
    Suspects Arrested

    Police Arrest 3 In Fire Station Burglary

    Published: Sep 7, 2003

    TAMPA - Three men were arrested Saturday in connection with a burglary and auto theft at a Tampa fire station.
    Kevin Keith Sullivan, 47, of 3914 W. Neptune St., and Brein K. Mandeville, 31, also of Tampa, were charged with two counts each of burglary and grand theft auto. Elijah Woodard, 28, of 5608 Drew Court was charged with resisting an officer without violence, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Tampa police said firefighters from Station 18, 5706 N. 30th St., returned to the station Saturday morning and discovered that a television, a privately owned 1997 Ford pickup and other items were missing.

    About 6 a.m., Sullivan walked into the station and told firefighters the pickup was in the vicinity of 29th Street and Lake Avenue.

    When the truck with its driver was discovered, police began following it. Woodard jumped from the vehicle and ran to a house on Powhatan Avenue, where Mandeville and some of the stolen property were found, police said.

    Sullivan and Mandeville were in Orient Road Jail with bail set at $8,000 each; Woodard had been released after posting $750 bail.

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  • Tampa--Firefighters Respond to call--Return to find Station had been burglarized!

    St. Petersburg Times--Tampa Bay

    Firefighters robbed as they respond to call
    When they return to their east Tampa station, a TV, DVDs and a pickup are gone. Police later arrest three men on theft charges.
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published September 7, 2003

    TAMPA - When firefighters at Tampa Fire Rescue station No. 18 rushed out early Saturday morning to extinguish a fire at a vacant house on Chelsea Street, they never counted on becoming the victims of a crime.

    But when they returned to the station about 3 a.m., they found their 32-inch television and DVDs and one firefighter's pickup stolen.

    By Saturday afternoon, firefighter Russ Bush had his maroon 1997 Ford F-150 back, and three suspects with long rap sheets were in jail.

    But the arrests came only after several bizarre hours that featured a fire station visitor claiming to be an innocent hitchhiker, a brief police chase and a quick exchange of Bush's truck for crack cocaine.

    Firefighters from the east Tampa station at 5706 N 30th St. were dispatched to a fire in a vacant home on Chelsea Street about 2 a.m.

    When they returned to the station more than an hour later, they found that someone had broken into and stolen from the station, Tampa police said.

    A few hours later, Kevin Keith Sullivan, 47, showed up at the station, claiming he was a hitchhiker who had been picked up in Bush's truck by a man who took him along as he tried to sell the truck and its contents in exchange for drugs.

    Sullivan told the firefighters that they could find the truck in the area of 29th Street and E Lake Avenue.

    After a firefighter discovered the truck in that vicinity, Tampa police were alerted and followed the vehicle.

    Police stopped the truck's driver, Elijah Joseph Woodard, 28, and caught him when he tried to flee, according to police reports.

    Woodard led officers to a house at 1904 E Powhattan Ave., where resident Brein K. Mandeville, 31, was found with some of the stolen property.

    By Saturday afternoon, the men were in the Hillsborough County jail on charges including grand theft, grand theft auto, burglary and resisting arrest.

    And police say they finally figured out the real story: Sullivan and Mandeville broke into the station and stole the truck and other items. They brought some of the goods to Mandeville's home and, after driving around in the truck in search of drugs, gave Woodard the truck in exchange for crack.

    Jail records show Sullivan has been arrested in Hillsborough 18 times since 1986. Mandeville has been arrested 17 times since 1990. Woodard has been arrested 13 times since 1992.

    Investigators are looking into whether Sullivan and Mandeville set the Chelsea Street fire to draw firefighters from the station, said Capt. Bill Wade, Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman.

    Meanwhile, Bush's wallet is still missing, but the truck suffered only a small dent in the back.

    Good thing, Bush's wife said.

    "This truck is like his baby, besides his children," Helene Bush said. "He washes and waxes it every other day."

    Bush said he's relieved to have the truck back, but admits he and the other firefighters will miss watching movies on their television, awarded to the station for collecting the most money in a fundraiser for muscular dystrophy last year.

    "It's a shame we're out a TV," he said.

    - Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at 813 661-2443 or [email protected]

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