Firefighter charged with burglary of phone store

Published May 25, 2007

TAMPA - A Tampa Fire Rescue firefighter was arrested Thursday after he tried to burglarize a cell phone store, police said.

Geoffrey Eugene Hicks, 24, was charged with burglary of a structure and possession of burglary tools. He posted $4, 000 bail and was released from the Hillsborough County Jail.

Just before 1 a.m. Thursday, a Tampa police officer on patrol heard an alarm outside Wireless USA at 701 S Dale Mabry Highway.

The officer saw a man running outside the business and found him crouched behind a trash bin, police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said. A crowbar was on the ground next to him.

McElroy said a side door, an inside door and some cabinets showed signs of being pried open. The store's owner, summoned to the business, told police nothing seemed to be missing.

Except for one incident of tardiness, Hicks' personnel file was clean, Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Bill Wade said.

He was hired in April 2005 and worked at Fire Station No. 12, generally known as the Hilldale station.

Hicks was suspended without pay while fire officials begin the process to fire him. City personnel regulations call for the termination of employees arrested on felony charges, Wade said.