Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Deputies: Man stole Seminole fire helmet as rescue officials treated his friend

SEMINOLE — After Seminole Fire Rescue firefighters showed up early Sunday morning to treat an ill person, deputies say his friend had a curious way of expressing his gratitude.

He stole a firefighter's helmet from inside a fire engine, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Christopher James Bergling later apologized for the theft and returned the helmet, deputies said. The 21-year-old was arrested on charges of grand theft, burglary of an unoccupied vehicle and possession of a controlled substance.

The red fire helmet is worth $500. It belonged to Lt. Thomas Winkler and was stolen from the officer's seat, or the passenger seat, of Engine 30, authorities said.

The engine was sent to a 2:30 a.m. medical call at 8771 Starkey Road, according to deputies. But once there several acquaintances of the patient kept interfering with firefighters, according to the Sheriff's Office. They were asked to leave the home to allow the firefighters to work. They did, deputies said, but once outside Bergling entered the unlocked fire engine's cockpit and took the helmet.

"What if there was another call and he didn't have access to his helmet?" said Assistant Fire Chief George Bessler. "It could have slowed down our response. It could have left him without an important piece of equipment."

Firefighters are only required to lock vehicle compartments that hold medication, Bessler said. Locking every compartment, including the cabin, would take up too much time during an emergency, the assistant chief said.

The lieutenant didn't notice the theft until around 7:42 a.m. and then called deputies, who tracked the helmet down.

Bergling, of 8872 Magnolia Dr., may have been drinking at the time, deputies said. He was being held in the county jail Tuesday in lieu of $7,000 bail.

Follow This Just In on Twitter.

Deputies: Man stole Seminole fire helmet as rescue officials treated his friend 05/04/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 3:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. My AP Top 25 ballot: FSU out, USF, Florida Gators back in


    Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher still thinks he can have a good team, as I wrote in today's Tampa Bay Times. Maybe he's right.

  2. Forecast: Scattered thunderstorms in Tampa Bay; Maria could affect Carolinas


    Scattered thunderstorms will threaten the Tampa Bay area Sunday, but most of the area will see sunshine.

    Scattered thunderstorms threaten Tampa Bay on Sunday. [Courtesy 10News WTSP]
  3. NFL owners speak out in support of players, against Trump


    The NFL's players and owners are frequently at odds over the issues, finances and rules of the game, a long-running feud that looms large toward another potential work stoppage after the 2020 season.

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  4. Rays Journal: Duda home run sets Rays record


    BALTIMORE -- With one swing of the bat, Rays DH/1B Lucas Duda broke a team record and tied a personal mark in Saturday's game against the Orioles that was not complete at press time.

    Lucas Duda, right, watches his three-run home run against the Orioles.
  5. Brooksville motorcyclist crashes into pole, dies


    BROOKSVILLE — A motorcyclist crashed into a utility pole and died Saturday evening, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.