Teen strolls in to get soda, robs Mo. fire station

The teenager allegedly left with a paramedic's purse and keys to a firefighter's truck, which he came back to steal

By Blythe Bernard
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS —  A teenager came into the firehouse at 6500 Michigan Avenue on Monday night looking for a soda, and walked out with a paramedic's purse and keys to a firefighter's pickup.

The burglary happened around 7:30 p.m. during a shift change as emergency medical crews were talking outside the station in the Carondelet neighborhood. The boy, estimated to be 14 years old, asked to buy a drink from the vending machine.

It's common for people to walk up and talk to firefighters or ask for advice, said St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson.

No one escorted the teen to the soda machine, where he allegedly grabbed a set of keys lying on a workbench and a purse sitting on the seat of an ambulance.

The teen returned later to match the key to a firefighter's truck, which he stole, Jenkerson said.

Firefighters later found the purse in a nearby dumpster, with the paramedic's prescription medication missing. The truck has not been recovered.

The same firehouse is still mourning the death of its 25-year veteran Capt. John Kemper, who died from injuries suffered in a structure fire in the 3600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue on July 5.

Jenkerson said fire stations have been burglarized before, with televisions and even dinners being stolen when firefighters were out on calls.

He said the open door policy won't change despite the burglaries.

"Part of what we do is talk to the neighbors, talk to the neighborhood, feel like we're part of the community," he said. "We're going to stay that course, just be a little more careful."

Copyright 2017 St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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