MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - As Memphis police officers search for the men who broke into Midtown's Union Avenue fire station and stole thousands of dollars in property from sleeping firefighters, neighbors are stepping up to help.
Eight firefighters at the Union Avenue fire station had their wallets, laptops, a bicycle, and cell phones stolen last Wednesday as they slept after returning from a call around midnight.
Hours after the break in, a surveillance camera in West Memphis captured two men using two of the firemen's stolen credit cards.
"There is something so inherently wrong with targeting someone like a policeman or fireman who serve us," said Carla Balch, who lives in Central Gardens.
When a neighbor's tree fell through Balch's roof during the Memorial Day weekend storms, she went to the fire crew on Union Avenue for help.
"I went to Station 11 and even as busy as they were, they sent firemen to help us turn off all of the circuit breakers in my basement and my house didn't burn down," she said.
Central Garden residents want to show their appreciation to those men and women who serve them in their times of need. The neighbors are organizing a fundraiser in an effort to help replace the firemen's stolen items.
"The neighborhood cares about these firefighters and will do whatever we need to do," said Balch. "It just really hurts us that somebody targeted them specifically."
The fundraiser is expected to happen later this summer.
In the meantime, despite their stolen items not meeting the city's insurance deductible of $50,000, a City of Memphis spokesperson said the city is likely to pay to replace the items that were taken.