MARINETTE -- Thieves are stealing medical bags out of ambulances in Marinette, and it could mean the difference between life and death, in an emergency!
Since 1947, volunteers have been behind the flashing lights and sirens of Marinette area ambulances, but about a month ago, the equipment those volunteers need to save lives started disappearing.
Marinette Rescue Squad volunteer EMT Greg Loll says four bags containing $600 worth of CPR equipment were stolen. Loll says the bags were taken overnight from ambulances parked in driveways of on-call volunteers. "We've never had any issues before. It's costing us money, and not only that, it's hurting the community," Loll said.
The ambulances are parked overnight in the volunteer's driveways unlocked. With these suspected thefts, it is protocol that the rescue group may change, but with seconds counting in an emergency, the EMTs would rather keep the trucks unlocked. "What happens if we lock the keys in the truck? All the doors are locked, and we have to wait for a locksmith and our next crew to be up," Loll said.
Marinette's Rescue Squad doesn't charge for its services, and relies solely on donations. With hopes of buying a new ambulance, the crew says it can't afford for another bag to be taken. "We're going to have to do something. We've got to protect ourselves. We've got to protect the community to make sure we do have the equipment here that we need, when we need it," Equipment Chairperson Sue Ryan said.
Two of the four missing bags were found empty in waters around Marinette. Some of the equipment was found scattered along the shoreline, but it was too water-logged to be salvaged.