Southwick Fire Department raising money to help have Marshall returned

The fire department is using the hashtag on their Facebook Page, #helpsavemarshall.

Southwick Fire Department has their mascot “Marshall” missing. The alleged suspect who took Marshall is requesting a ransom of $500. (Photo from the Southwick Fire Department)

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (The Westfield News) – The Southwick Fire Department is asking for the community’s efforts to help bring back Marshall. The inflatable dog who is the mascot for the fire department, Marshall has been declared missing by an alleged thief or group of thieves.

From looking at the time on the surveillance cameras, the Southwick Fire Department concluded that Marshall was taken around 10:30 p.m. on Friday Sept. 30. As it was raining that night, the rain came down hard enough that it distorted the camera lens and only a blurred image of a suspect appeared on the video footage.

“A silhouette can be seen at approx. 10:30 p.m.” on Friday night,” said Southwick Police Detective Robert Landis.

According to Landis, firefighter and EMT, Jessica Bishop, was the first to realize their beloved Marshall was missing and reported it to the police.

Bishop was quick to realize something was out of place as Marshall always stands right outside the fire department headquarters donning his red fire hat throughout the whole month of October to promote fire prevention awareness.

At the scene, Bishop discovered a small piece of evidence that could help Detective Landis with the investigation.

“We did find evidence of his zip ties being cut and left on the ground,” said Bishop.

As the fire department was just beginning to absorb the fact that their inflatable Dalmatian has been taken, Fire Chief Russ Anderson received a series of emails on Monday.

Using the email address name, Fire Man, the alleged suspect emailed Anderson at 10:34 a.m. on Monday Oct. 3 saying, “If you want sparky to come home safely, do not go to the police.”

After the suspect ensured Anderson that Marshall is indeed safe, he demanded that there is a ransom of $500. The thief made suggestions as to how the fire department can raise the $500 for the ransom.

The suspect told Anderson that a press release, Facebook event on the department’s Facebook Page, a sign in front of the station, and help with local businesses could be ways to raise the money and ultimately get Marshall back. The most important request by the thief was that all of the money that would be raised would go to towards the Our Community Food Pantry in Southwick.

The fire department has already begun promoting that Marshall is missing.

“We did just start an event on our Facebook page,” said Bishop.

In an attempt to rally the community together, the fire department is using the hashtag on their Facebook Page, #helpsavemarshall.

Anderson said that the department will certainly follow the suspect’s instructions and do whatever it takes to find Marshall.

“It’s unfortunate that Marshall got stolen,” said Anderson. “We want Marshall back.”

As for the investigation, Detective Landis has a full force of officers on the investigation as they continue to focus on any new developments.

“It is still undetermined what the motive of the perpetrator was,” said Landis.

Using the Facebook event they created, the fire department will continue to reach out to the community and hope that people will donate to the Our Community Food Pantry in the effort to bring back Marshall.

According to Landis, no one at the Our Community Food Pantry is a suspect at this time.

Copyright 2016 The Westfield News