The Faulkner County Emergency Squad had its diving equipment stolen Friday night while the team was preparing for certification in Hot Springs.
According to Malinda Millsaps, an EMT with the squad, the rescue team was in Hot Springs so nine members could earn their diving certifications on Saturday. However, as the team prepared to leave for Lake Ouachita early Saturday morning, Millsaps noticed that team member Michael Smith’s truck had been broken into in their hotel parking lot.
Millsaps said two of the squad members drove their personal vehicles to haul the diving equipment.
The driver’s side passenger window of Smith’s truck had been broken and several items were missing from inside. Along with Smith’s cell phone, truck key, Garmin GPS and radio, the suspects also stole a first aid kit, the squad’s handheld radio and several pieces of diving equipment, including snorkels, goggles, fins and oxygen cylinders.
The rescue squad notified the Hot Springs police, who were able to collect fingerprints from the scene.
Millsaps said three other vehicles in the parking lot had also been vandalized. There were no surveillance cameras in the lot.
The squad hopes to meet soon to take inventory of their equipment and make a final list of the missing items. Millsaps said they have backup diving equipment available in case of any emergencies.
Despite the loss of their equipment, nine members of the rescue squad earned their diving certifications Saturday. Ocean Extreme in Little Rock, who certified the divers, supplied the squad with the necessary equipment to complete their training.
"That is the positive that came out of the weekend," Millsaps said. "We have nine new divers."
(Staff writer Stephanie Fischer can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1238. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)