Florida Firefighter Accused of Stealing

He reportedly needed money for his drug habit.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. --

A Daytona Beach firefighter is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from several fire stations. Investigators said 25-year-old Christopher Forrest even had crack pipes with him when he was arrested.

Forrest allegedly stole thousands of dollars right from the fire station, which is especially daring considering stations are staffed 24 hours a day. He got around that in one case, police said, by making a call to 911. Firefighters had to leave the station to respond to the call and he was free to steal cash.

Forrest resigned from the fire department after he was confronted by police, but investigators said even after he bonded out he didn't stop stealing. He showed up at an Ormond Beach home a few weeks ago at 3:00am where self-defense instructor Dave Grabner cautiously answered the door.

"I teach martial arts, so if he did get in he woulda had a world of hurt on him," Grabner said.

Grabner later learned from police that Forrest stole hundreds of dollars and credit cards out of his brand new car and police suspect him in other neighborhood break-ins.

"Finding out that they're doing drugs and going around stealing outta people's cars is kinda shattering," Grabner said.

"Yeah, it was shocking to us. We hate to see anyone go through that, let alone one of our own. It's a big disappointment when you have something happen like that," said Fred Godawa, Daytona Beach Fire.

The fire department said it knew last year that Forrest was stressed and tried to get him help. They didn't know he was using drugs.

Firefighters have a long-standing policy of not being allowed to smoke, but they don't have any random or scheduled drug test policy.

"We always try to find help for the employee. We don't want to just write you off and say see you later and go down the road 'cause that doesn't benefit anyone," Godawa said.

Forrest faces arraignment on eight charges next week. The money he stole from fire stations belonged to the union. It was going to pay for flu shot supplies and the union will likely have to just eat that cost.