Bayshore Fire and Rescue reported one of its trucks stolen Sunday morning. It was later found in Manatee County.
Brush truck 132 was taken sometime between 10 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. from its North Fort Myers station on Nalle Road while crews were on a call.
Susan Lindenmuth is a volunteer with Bayshore Fire Rescue. “Losing a piece of equipment is devastating for our community because it means that we can’t respond like we need to like we’re able to and that I think hit everybody hard,” Lindenmuth said.
The suspect was at another fire station in Fort Myers earlier in the day on Sunday posing as a firefighter, and FMPD opened an investigation. From there, Brice DiGiorgio only took a cell phone and disconnected the GPS.
Bayshore’s Fire Chief says the suspect may have taken the brush truck offroading because they disconnected the GPS and there was dried mud on the back of the vehicle.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office arrested DiGiorgio and authorities are trying to get him back to Lee County.
The Bayshore Fire Department instantly contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and other sheriff departments.
“Our heart is absolutely here at Bayshore and when something like this happens it was so heartwarming to see our community step up and just wrap their arms around us and say yes we’re going to get involved, we’re going to help this and in very short period time. I mean it was shared over 63,000 times,” said Lindenmuth.
Counties north of Lee were alerted after someone spotted the brush truck headed north on US 41 and that’s how the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office was able to recover it.
“Pulled it over and they did what is called a ‘felony stop’ to get the driver out. They were able to get the driver out safely. No one was injured and he was the only one that was in the truck at the time,” Lindenmuth said.
Susan says that Station 132 firefighters feel like they had something taken from their own homes. But, luckily it was the community that helped out and what makes them proud to serve.
“We’re very blessed to get the truck back. We couldn’t have done it without the audience, with all of the Facebook pages, all of the news outlets. It was just a total community effort and we couldn’t have done it without everybody’s help,” Lindenmuth said.