Thief steals $100,000 of gear from SC Forestry

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The South Carolina Forestry Commission says someone took about $100,000 worth of gear from the agency, hampering its ability to respond to emergencies.

Forestry spokesman Scott Hawkins says a flatbed truck with agency's logo, two all-terrain vehicles used for firefighting, generators, welding equipment, hand tools and computers were stolen from an agency warehouse in Columbia sometime between Dec. 23 and Dec. 27.

Much of the gear belonged to a team that responds to major incidents, like a 2009 wildfire near Myrtle Beach that burned 31 square miles and destroyed 76 homes.

Hawkins says the equipment was purchased through Homeland Security grants and may not be replaced because of the agency's recent tight budgets.

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