Fla. Firefighter Allegedly Steals Guns On-Duty

ST. CLOUD, Fla. --

A local firefighter is accused of stealing from a home he was called to help.

Osceola County sheriff's deputies said Douglas Werk responded to an emergency call a year ago at a St. Cloud home. Investigators said the homeowner called the Osceola County Fire Rescue for a medical condition and she wound up in a hospital, but when she came home, she noticed she was missing 10 guns.

Detectives said Werk may have been scouting out homes to burglarize. His boss, Osceola County Fire Chief Richard Collins, said even the mere possibility of wrongdoing has tainted his department.

"If these allegations are proven and he is convicted, it is a disgrace to our department and quite frankly it's a disgrace to our profession as firefighters," said Collins.

When the homeowner on Lake Gentry drive in St. Cloud reported her gun collection missing, the investigation soon zeroed in on Werk, the sheriff's office said. Deputies learned Werk might have broken back into the home. They went looking for work and said they found one of the guns inside his home.

The firefighter's soon-to-be ex-wife, Rachel Werk, just found out about the incident.

"I'm embarrassed. I don't have much to say about it," said Rachel Werk.

Rachel Werk, however, said she has other reasons for splitting up. Werk's weapons permit is suspended for a domestic violence charge, and he's not welcome back into their home.

"He's not allowed anywhere near the house. I haven't spoken to him in over a week," said Rachel Werk.

Douglas Werk was already under investigation after deputies caught him snooping around someone's property in February, Collins said.

"He was on administrative duty depending on the outcome of that case," said Collins.

Collins said he wants to make one thing clear.

"Our folks do a great job. The actions of this individual are not reflective of our department," said Collins.

Werk is being held in the Osceola County Jail.

Anyone who noticed his or her belongings missing after calling Osceola County Fire Rescue is asked to call the Osceola County Sheriff's Office at 407-348-1100.

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