A bipartisan group of N.C. House legislators want to crack down on vandals who damage fire and emergency medical service vehicles and equipment.
House Bill 98, which was approved by the House Judiciary II Committee on Tuesday, would make that crime a Class 1 misdemeanor. Currently, fire and EMS equipment vandalisms are prosecuted under the more general crime of injury to personal property – which sometimes comes with only a small fine.
Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Cary Republican and one of the bill’s sponsors, said the legislation is “to work to discourage what has become an issue for firefighters and EMS personnel and their equipment throughout the state,” he said.
Rep. Mike Clampitt is a Bryson City Republican and former firefighter who’s co-sponsoring the bill. He described a recent incident in Swain County in which someone broke into the rescue squad building and caused $250,000 in damage to the equipment. Some thieves, he said, “just think it’s cool to have something off the fire truck.”
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The bill now heads to the House floor.