Monday January 7, 2013

LEE -- Someone has been systematically stripping thousands of dollars worth of parts from an antique fire engine that had been slated for restoration, local authorities said on Monday.

For the second time in two weeks, the Lee Fire Company on Sunday reported parts missing from its 1939 Maxim pumper stored in a secure garage at the town's former landfill, according to Lee police.

Investigating officer Adrian Kohlenberger said the first break-in was discovered on Dec. 24.

So far, no arrests have been made in the case. It's not known if it's the work of one or more people.

Copper pieces, a chrome radiator, and a rare windshield frame were among the items picked clean from the vintage fire truck, said Lee Fire Chief Alan Sparks.

The fire chief said the only use for the parts, other than the fire engine itself, would be selling it for scrap.

"I'll bet the radiator is worth $3,000, and I think there are only two other [windshield] frames like it in the world," Sparks said.

The Lee Fire Company bought the fire engine from the town several years ago and planned to restore it some day. The company, consisting of Lee firefighters, is a private organization separate from the town's Lee Fire Department.

Meanwhile, the fire company is expected to find a more secure and visible location to store the pumper in order to curb future thefts. The landfill garage is located in a secluded area off Woodland Road near the October Mountain State Forest campground.


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To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.