Thieves stole tens of thousands of dollars in equipment, including ‘Jaws of Life’, from Houston fire engines

At least 11 incidents of life-saving equipment theft since 2022

At least four different fire departments, including the one in Houston, have fallen victim to theft, and tens of thousands of dollars of equipment, purchased with public funds have disappeared, KPRC 2 Investigates has learned.

Recently, police recovered a “Jaws of Life” from a stolen vehicle that was connected to both ATM thefts and catalytic converter thefts.

No arrests have been made in any of the cases, although a combination of police agencies are aware of the issue, and suspect information is circulating among law enforcement.

“They took two chain saws, two cut-off saws, and two portable generators with lights on it for scene lighting. And that was the end of that,” Ponderosa Fire Chief Fred Windisch said.

A few weeks later, there was another incident in front of one of their stations.

A Klein Volunteer Fire Chief covering calls temporarily for Ponderosa was also targeted in broad daylight.

Recently, an HFD Chief circulated an inter-departmental memo ordering that firefighters in so-called “heavy apparatus” like fire engines would have to leave one person to watch the truck, unless on an emergency call.

Chief Windisch said he has been forced to institute nearly the same policy.

Most of the missing equipment appears to be insured.

If you have information about theft from area fire trucks or ambulances you are urged to call Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713-222-TIPS. You can remain anonymous.