DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Authorities say thieves broke into a closed fire station on Detroit’s east side and stole equipment including radios, tools off a fire truck and electronics.

Ladder 19 Battalion Chief Robert Zygmontowicz said the firefighters “feel violated” after getting word of the thefts Monday. He said thieves gained entrance to the station by breaking a basement window. The loss is estimated at thousands of dollars.

Other items taken during the break-in included a microwave and food that firefighters paid for themselves, but the missing gear was most troublesome for Zygmontowicz.

“Our job is to protect the citizens’ property and lives, and when we’re missing equipment it makes our job a lot harder,” he said.

Police say no one was at the fire station at the time of the thefts, in part because the station is one that’s closed at most times due to budget cuts.

Detroit Fire Commissioner Don Austin said in statement that the break-in is a “crime committed against the neighborhood and the people who depend on these first responders.”

“We will be more vigilant about taking safety precautions and interacting more  closely with police officers who patrol fire stations within their precinct’s area of responsibility,” Austin said.

It’s not the first the time a closed fire station is the target of crime in Detroit. Police say several stations have been broken into, mainly by scrap metal thieves.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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