Former Firefighter Faces Felony Charges for Joyride

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Early Monday morning, a Hale firefighter called the Trempealeau County Sheriff's Department saying this truck, the only pumper at the station, was gone.

Chief Scott Rongstad got the same call moments later.

"I didn't believe it at first, then I came up here, and still couldn't believe it was missing."

According to a criminal complaint against former Firefighter Darrel Abramczak, a Strum firefighter saw the truck in Eau Claire, but officers never had a chance to act on the tip.

"I was standing out in the parking lot, and all of a sudden, the truck drives in...something that you don't think is going to happen either," Rongstad said.

The surprises didn't end there.

When Rongstad saw Abramczak get out of the truck, he was dressed in the chief's coat with a radio attached, and his helmet was in the passenger seat.

Police said he told his old boss "I thought i would take it for one last ride being I'm not on the fire department anymore." Four days earlier, Rongstad fired him for stealing gas and using a red flashing light in his personal car.

"I guess he wanted to be chief or something for a day, I don't know..."

Abramczak's car had been parked nearby. He left, was eventually arrested and charged with the crime. Rongstad has since changed the locks on the doors to the garage.

"I feel that it's a once in a lifetime thing that's going to happen."

If convicted, Abramczak could serve a six-year prison sentence. He's scheduled to be in court on Monday.