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Former firefighter charged with looting enters plea - FOX 14 TV Joplin and Pittsburg News Weather Sports |

Former firefighter charged with looting in aftermath of tornado pleads not guilty

Updated July 28, 2011 at 2:40 PM CST:  A former Baxter Springs firefighter charged with stealing from the Home Depot in the days following the tornado appeared in Jasper County court today.

Matt Page plead not guilty to the misdemeanor charge against him.

Updated July 21, 2011 at 4:15 PM CST:  According to a police report, Matthew Page, 25, allegedly took several items from the Joplin Home Depot on or about May 24.  The store valued the items at about $245.

Page was let go from the fire department last month.  He was charged yesterday with a misdemeanor.

Les Page is the Baxter Springs fire chief and he had been placed on administrative leave.  He is now back on the job.

Reported July 21, 2011 at 1:20 PM CST:  A 4-State man who worked to protect the lives of others is accused of looting the night of the Joplin tornado.

A Baxter Springs, Kansas man was charged yesterday with stealing items in the aftermath of the deadly storm.

Matt Page, 25, is charged with one misdemeanor count of stealing.  He was fired from his job as a Baxter Springs firefighter last month after an investigation by the city.

Page and a couple of other firefighters were accused of taking items from Home Depot the night the tornado hit Joplin.

Page's father is the Baxter Springs fire chief and he was placed on administrative leave.

Page is scheduled to be in Jasper County court on August 3.

Reported June 17, 2011 at 11:44 AM CST:  Three firefighters are fired and the Baxter Springs fire chief is placed on administrative leave while an investigation is underway into the looting of Joplin businesses on the night of the May 22nd tornado.

In a statement from Baxter Springs Mayor Jennifer Bingham, she says the city of Baxter Springs upholds a zero-tolerance policy and as a city we will stand united against any such behavior.

It is unclear yet whether three unnamed firefighters were on duty at the time of the looting.

Last Saturday, Fire Chief Les Page was asked to take an administrative leave of absence.

Mayor Bingham says Page was not involved in the wrongdoings of the three firefighters.  He has been with the department for nearly 40 years.  In his absence Art Mallory has been named acting fire chief.

At this point Joplin authorities have not yet filed charges against the three firefighters.

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