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"There have been thefts and we are investigating, and the fire marshals are helping us," said city Department of Investigation spokeswoman Emily Gest, who would not provide further details except to say "there is absolutely no terrorism angle" to the investigation.
A Fire Department source who declined to be named said an FDNY supervisor's car, Valium, morphine and two or three radios were discovered stolen from Fort Totten's Emergency Medical Service training academy the morning of April 14.
The car, a "Suburban-type" vehicle, was recovered blocks away that same morning, the source said.
Valium and morphine used by paramedics are kept in a locker that was completely ripped off a wall in last week's theft, said the source, who could not confirm a New York Post report that FDNY uniforms were also stolen.
"There have been some thefts out there in the past," including cash, the source said. Money from a vending machine was also taken last week.
The source would not say whether the thefts were thought to be an inside job but said Fort Totten is "an area that is not really open to the public. You'd have to know the lay of the land."
The Fire Department, which took over part of Fort Totten after the base was decommissioned by the U.S. Defense Department in 1995, has applied for a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to establish a "think tank" for terrorism responses at the Civil War-era fort.
The former military base is also home to the 77th Regional Readiness Command of the U.S. Army Reserve and is set to become public parkland.
Firefighter and Community Board 7 Chairman Eugene Kelty, whose board includes the fort, said the elimination of the fire marshal base on Fort Totten removed an important security presence there.
"When we have parts of the fort that are not being occupied anymore, that could be a target for somebody to break in," he said. "The marshals worked 'round the clock over there."
Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2004 Community Newspaper Group
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