July 4, 2011

West Palm Beach man arrested for stealing fire department vehicle

Stock Island – A West Palm Beach, Florida man was arrested early today after he stole a fire department vehicle, then ran over a fire hydrant with it.
A witness saw the Ford Expedition, fully marked as a fire department vehicle, at 3:30 a.m. It was sideways, blocking a lane of traffic on Highway U.S. One at the 5 mile marker.  It was parked overtop of a fire hydrant and had a flat tire and had its hazard lights on  A man, later identified as 26 year old Adam Streifel, was standing beside it.
The witness pulled over to help. He  said Streifel offered him money to help him move the vehicle off the road. Instead, the witness called the Sheriff’s Office.
When Deputies Joe Cortner, Spenser Bryan and Scott Ward arrived, Streifel was still there. As the deputy began unraveling what happened, two men drove up in separate taxis. They said they were Streifel’s friends. One of them told the deputy they’d been drinking on Duval Street and had lost track of Streifel. They said Streifel then called them and told them to meet him at the five mile marker of the highway. One friend, 42 year old Justin McClain of Gainesville, Florida, refused to follow deputy’s instructions to stay away from Streifel; he kept yelling at his friend, and was finally arrested for interfering with a law enforcement officer.
Deputy Cortner spoke with Streifel, who told him someone loaned him the fire vehicle. He would not say who. According to the deputy, Streifel smelled strongly of alcohol while he was speaking.

Further investigation revealed the fire department vehicle had last been seen in the parking lot of the Big Coppitt fire department at 10 p.m. Sunday. The keys had reportedly been left in the vehicle, along with a cell phone, which was later found in Streifel’s pocket. A member of the Fire Department responded to the scene and took custody of both the vehicle and the cell phone.
Streifel was charged with grand theft auto and both men were taken to jail.

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