Local residents said they saw a group of teenagers entering and exiting the Mozart Volunteer Fire Department station around 11 p.m. Tuesday, but none were compelled to notify law enforcement.
That group of undeterred teens went on to take a fire truck for a joyride and vandalize the fire station, according to Wheeling Deputy Police Chief Martin Kimball.
It is unknown how the group gained access to the building, but once inside, they wrote messages on a chalk board and ripped papers from a bulletin board, Kimball said. They attempted to access the computer, but the password prevented them from logging on.
The mischief went undiscovered until Fire Chief Richard Harold entered the station around 9:30 p.m. the following night and contacted police. Harold told officers that the fire truck was parked askew and had an extra mile on the odometer.
Officers spoke with neighbors, some of whom reported seeing a group of about six teenage boys and a girl, all wearing hooded sweat shirts, walking in and out of the station on the previous night. At least one resident watched the truck being driven back into the station, Kimball said. The scene did not provoke any suspicions, however, and no one contacted police.