A 19-year-old Skiatook man was taken into custody last week for a recent burglary at the Avant Fire Station and the theft/destruction by arson of the volunteer fire department’s primary truck.
Harvey Gene Eastwood faces charges of arson, second-degree burglary and larceny of a motor vehicle in connection with the overnight incidents. Eastwood was arrested Thursday morning and is expected to be arraigned on the charges Friday in Osage County District Court at Pawhuska.
Prior to the arrest of Eastwood, a juvenile suspect had been questioned about involvement in the Avant case, according to a press release from the Osage County Sheriff’s Office.
Undersheriff Lou Ann Brown said the OCSO "was able to confirm his information and discover additional evidence pertaining to the burning of the fire truck." She added that the sheriff’s office also is requesting charges be filed against the juvenile.
Avant town officials estimated total damages from the burglary and vandalism at $120,000. A major portion of that loss was for a 2008 Ford F350 truck that was taken from the station and driven to a remote location a few miles from town where it was overturned and set on fire.
Mayor Justin Brown said a trail of discarded gloves and medical supplies had helped lead investigators to the vehicle, which was found totally destroyed by fire.
While the vehicle is insured, he said the high deductible cost is beyond the current budget of the small department.
The mayor also pointed out the emotional attachment of local citizens for the lost truck, which was obtained five years ago through efforts led by former Avant Fire Chief Dale Soule — who died shortly after the vehicle was put in to service. The truck reportedly had been used to carry Soule’s casket during the funeral service, town officials said.
The burglar(s) apparently entered the building through the ceiling some time late Tuesday night, Dec. 10, or early on Dec. 11, according to the officials. Monetary contents of a water-vending machine had been taken, office file cabinets were broken into and a computer used at the station was seriously damaged, officials added.
Undersheriff Brown said Eastwood also will be charged with an Oct. 18 burglary of the House of Prayer church in Avant.
Eastwood, who will turn 20 next month, pleaded guilty in Tulsa County District Court in January to a misdemeanor charge of petty larceny in connection with the theft of scrap metal from an auto salvage in late 2012. Sentencing in the case had been deferred for one year. Earlier this week, prosecutors filed a motion to accelerate sentencing action in that case.