Thousands of dollars worth of equipment stolen from the Oklahoma Emergency Response team

Members say it will take a year to recover

Members of the Oklahoma Emergency Response team are angry and hurt after a recent theft.

Chainsaws, tool kits, flashlights, hygiene supplies, and boxes of food were all stolen from the team’s undisclosed warehouse in Miami.

Team members found that the items in the warehouse were out of place on Thursday evening. They took inventory on Friday, where they discovered $6500 worth of stuff was stolen. They believe the thieves got in by breaking a window at the far end of the warehouse. A door was found shimmied open as well.

“I mean to me it looks like they came and ransacked everything to see what they wanted. But I mean some stuff is kind of pointless why take potato chips that we gave out to people that had nothing? I mean a bag of potato chips is a lot to someone that just lost everything, and they took them all, I mean that’s kind of petty to me” said Response team volunteer, Shannon Rudolph.

Rudolph has volunteered with the non-profit response team for two years, helping flood and tornado victims.

“It’s kind of heartbreaking because I mean it does take a lot and Rick works his butt off to run this, and they just come in and take it like it’s no big deal. So I don’t even have any words really for them.”

Rick Aldridge, Chief Executive Officer, says that even though so much is gone, they forgive whoever stole it.

“Being a faith based group, we forgive the people that did it, we understand probably why they did it but it still doesn’t erase the fact it makes a lot of us angry. Truth be told, if they had come knocking on the doors and said we need some food, need some hygiene product, need to borrow some tools, they would have got it without a problem. Stealing is just not something that we look at very good.”

Aldridge started the Response Team back in 2014 and said it took a couple of years to build up the amount of stock that he had. He says it’s going to take about a year or more to recover from this theft.

“It’s going to take us time to go back and buy those things and replace and things like that and some of those are pretty high dollar, so it’s going to take us time to recover.”

“We had enough here to do what we needed to do and now we don’t, so it’s definitely setting us back” added Rudolph.

The Oklahoma Emergency Response team relies on donations, Aldridge says that many have reached out to him to help, but they have not set up anything yet, as they are still figuring out exactly what and how much they need to replace.

The response team has filed a police report.
If anyone knows any information you are asked to call the Miami Police Department.

The Oklahoma Emergency Response team can be reached at 918-541-6056.

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