The “Squad 90” fire truck is back where it belongs, at the Tolar Volunteer Fire Department — after reportedly being taken for a ride twice in two days.
A 19-year-old Granbury man was arrested Tuesday evening and booked into the Hood County Jail on multiple felony charges in connection with the incident, according to Hood County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Johnny Rose.
“Deputies discovered Ethan Mac Dobelbower allegedly gained entry into the fire station without permission and took a rescue truck for a drive (two) different times on (Nov. 15) and (Nov. 16),” Rose stated in an email. “On the (second) occasion, Dobelbower left the rescue truck at the Tolar Elementary School campus where deputies located the vehicle.”
The original news release from the Sheriff’s Office stated that the fire truck was taken without permission three times, but on Thursday morning, that information was corrected. Rose explained in a follow-up email that “Investigators have modified two charges on (Dobelbower). Initially, deputies were told Dobelbower had removed the truck three times, but after further investigation it was determined Dobelbower drove the fire truck two times.”
Tolar VFD Fire Chief Matt Hutsell posted a Facebook message Tuesday stating that the Squad 90 truck was missing, and later that evening, posted that “the perpetrator” had been apprehended.
Rose said that Dobelbower had “never been a volunteer fireman,” and so far there is no known motive.
“Not really, other than he just wanted to drive a fire truck,” Rose speculated. “We’re not really sure. There’s a chance there are some mental health issues.”
Rose added that during Dobelbower’s first drive in the fire truck, he had the emergency lights on and was spotted by a deputy who thought the vehicle was on the way to a legitimate emergency response.
The charges filed against Dobelbower include: two counts of burglary of a building (state jail felony, $5,000 bond); two counts of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle (state jail felony, $5,000 bond); and one count of theft (second-degree felony, $20,000 bond). Rose noted that there was no “forced entry” to the fire station, and the theft charge applies to the fact that the suspect did not return the truck the second time.
Rose noted that the Squad 90 fire truck has approximately $300,000 worth of equipment on board, including a Lucas device, which can be used by first responders performing CPR. So far, Rose said, no damage to the truck or the equipment has been detected.
“The case is still under investigation and investigators are still determining if any items at the fire station or vehicles were damaged by Dobelbower,” Rose stated.