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Volunteer firefighter's gear stolen out of his car

The Union Road volunteer firefighter hopes his stolen gear will be returned at no costs for taxpayers.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — The Union Road Volunteer Fire Department is asking for the public's help after a brazen theft in a Gastonia parking lot.

A firefighter said his car was broken into and all the gear he needs to do his job, along with some personal belongings, were taken.

Andrew Hascox can't understand why someone would steal his.

“It’s like my best friend in a bag. I wear it everywhere, every time an emergency comes out. I wear it to help other people, it's not a fashion statement, it’s definitely something to protect me,” said Hascox, a volunteer with Union Road Fire Department and a full time member of the Gastonia Fire Department.

Volunteer firefighters always have to be ready to go to work. A lot of them keep their gear in their personal cars.

Firefighters have a dangerous job. Their turnout gear is their first line of defense, what protects them while they're protecting the public. Hascox hopes the taxpayers don't have to pick up the tab.

He was at the Regal movie theater in Gastonia with his kids when his car was broken into. He said no windows were smashed but he remembers locking his car specifically. His laptop, a tablet and a handgun were also stolen.

Lowell Police are investigating and Hascox said there are no surveillance cameras in the parking lot.

He's hopeful someone saw something or will find the gear disposed somewhere and can help get it returned. He says the department is funded by taxpayer dollars and he doesn’t want them to cover the cost of the crime.

“It kind of hurts, that someone would take something that’s not theirs and especially something as valuable as turnout gear. It's not necessarily valuable to anyone else but it protects me on every fire that we go to," says Hascox.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Union Road Volunteer Fire Department at (704) 865-2611.

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