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Police douse theft of firetruck
Justin Colwell1.jpg
Justin Colwell

An effort to steal a firetruck was hosed down Tuesday morning by good police work. 

Smithville Fire Department reported the theft of one of its trucks, a 2006 Dodge pickup, just before 7 a.m. Tuesday morning. A be-on-the-lookout alert (BOLO) went out to Warren County law enforcement within minutes. 

“I heard the BOLO at 7:10 a.m. reporting a stolen truck, which initially came out as a stolen firetruck from the Smithville City Fire Department,” said McMinnville Police Department officer Justin Colwell. “It was last seen leaving DeKalb County and heading inbound on Francis Ferry Road. I decided to go to Faulkner Springs Road and wait.”

Instinct paid off. 

“At 7:30 a.m., I saw the truck coming inbound on Faulkner Springs Road,” said Colwell. “I initiated a traffic stop. It stopped in the area of Custom Vinyl Signs. He identified himself as Mark Beall, 42, a Smithville resident. I ordered him out of the truck. He complied and I took him into custody without incident.”

The truck was a secondary firetruck used to carry rescue tools, including an estimated $20,000 of hydraulic equipment, fire extinguishers, radios, etc. It has the characteristic appearance of a firetruck in that it is red with white stripes and emergency lights.

Colwell added a touch of humor to a situation that did end well.

“It has been my dream as a police officer to chase down a firetruck,” said Colwell, who laughed. “It was awesome.”

Beall has been charged with theft of property over $10,000 and being a fugitive of justice.  “He is wanted out of North Carolina for a fraud warrant,” said Colwell. “He stated to me that he stole the truck because he thought people were chasing him and he needed to get out of town. I don’t know if anyone was chasing him, but they were after he took the truck.”