DALLAS -- A convicted felon found it easy to simply drive off in a Dallas Fire-Rescue bomb squad truck containing more than $120,000 in equipment after the keys were left in the ignition, according to police records.
Benjamin Hubbard, 37, was being held Monday in the Dallas County Jail on a felony theft charge after he confessed to taking the truck. Bail has been set at $100,000.
Joel Lavender, a DFR spokesman, said in a statement that “somehow the keys were accidentally left in the vehicle.”
“DFR is investigating the mix-up to prevent this from happening again,” Lavender wrote in an e-mail.
According to police records, a bomb squad technician dropped off the 2011 Ford F350 truck for repairs at the Dallas Fire Academy at 3500 Dolphin Road. The repairs were performed and the keys were left overnight in the ignition of the truck, which was parked to the back of the property near the auto maintenance shop.
A city of Dallas mechanic told police that he left the maintenance shop about 5 p.m. Thursday. The bomb squad technician returned and found the truck gone.
As the bomb squad technician and the mechanic began driving downtown to report the truck missing, they saw it parked in the grassy area near Interstate 20 and Merrifield Avenue. It was running and Hubbard was sitting in the driver’s seat, the police documents state.
Two bomb squad suits, a hook and line kit, an X-ray system and a laptop were missing out of the truck. The items were valued at $126,000, the records state.
Hubbard later led investigators to where he had hid the stolen items, and police recovered everything except the stolen laptop.
Hubbard is a convicted felon with a long criminal history in Dallas County, including convictions for burglary, auto theft, evading arrest and DWI.