SLIDELL- It took firefighters with St. Tammany Fire District #1 more than 20 minutes to put out a fire at an abandoned trailer on Maple Avenue Wednesday.
But the crew, including Capt. Ken Kittel, stayed busy on scene through lunch time before returning to the station off Robert Road.
"Came back around 2 p.m. and figured out my truck wasn't where I left it," he said.
After calling around to friends and family known to pull pranks, Kittel realized his truck had been stolen.
"We try to help people and this guy doesn't really care, or this person doesn't really care, that it inconvenienced me and my family," said Kittel.
Police also took it personal when they took on the case.
"Firemen and police men in this community are very close. You steal from one of them, it's like stealing from one of us," said Slidell Police Det. Daniel Seuzeneau.
But police don't believe the truck was stolen just because it was nice or for its parts. They believe it was stolen to commit another brazen crime.
"What we're looking at right now is there's a rin that started in Houston where they're stealing these F-250s and F-350s and they're taking them, bashing into businesses and stealing ATMs," said Seuzeneau.
This trend spiked in the Hammond area in 2014 and has picked up again in the New Orleans area recently. While police say they haven't confirmed a connection with this theft and any smash-and-grabs, they say it's likely only a matter of time.
"Be on the lookout for this car," said Seuzeneau, "It's gotta be in this New Orleans Metro area, we firmly believe that. We just hope it turns up somewhere."
As for Kittel, he's hoping the community can focus its support of first responders on catching the culprits behind this crime.
The truck is described as a 2006 white Ford F-250 FX4 with black running boards and chrome exhaust pipes. There is a fire service sticker on the front windshield by the brake tag and a professional firefighter's license plate with numbers 3247.
Call Slidell Police at 985-643-3131 if you spot the truck.
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