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Friday, May 3, 2013A Ford Heights Fire Department dispatcher is facing a felony theft charge for purchasing stolen fire department equipment and then pawning it for monetary gain, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said today.

Varndell HurringsVarndell Hurrings, 52, of Sauk Village, appeared in Bond Court today at the Markham Courthouse, where he was given a $20,000 I-bond (own recognizance). He was arrested by Cook County Sheriff’s Police on Thursday at the Ford Heights Fire Department.

The investigation began Jan. 26 when the Fire Department notified Cook County Sheriff’s Police – who provide police services to the village – of the theft of a hydraulic unit used to power the “Jaws of Life” tool. The tool was last seen Jan. 22 during an equipment inspection.

In April, Sheriff’s Police learned the hydraulic unit, valued at $4,100, was sold to a Chicago Height’s pawn shop for $80 on Jan. 26.

They also learned that Hurrings purchased the unit for $40 from another person – who has since died-- knowing it had been stolen. He then sold the unit to the pawn shop for $80.

His next court date is scheduled for June 14 at the Markham Courthouse.
Sheriff Dart reminds the public that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty by the government in a court of law.

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