Public access AED stolen from Oshkosh Fugleberg boat launch - August 21 2013

OSHKOSH, Wis. -- One of nine public access AEDs purchased through community donations was stolen last week, authorities report.

The automated external defibrillator (AED) was removed from its protective box mounted at the Fugleberg Boat Launch on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013. Authorities are seeking its prompt
return as the device may be needed to save the life of someone using the boat launch during this very active time of year for boating.

The Oshkosh Police Department is encouraging anyone who may have information on this incident to contact them at 920-236-5700.

"It's unfortunate. The community came together to purchase a piece of equipment not only to protect our community but also, being the Event City, visitors to our community," said Tim Franz, Oshkosh Fire Department Chief. "That's just a malicious act."

The nine public access AEDs installed at public gathering spots and parks in Oshkosh were among a total of 24 purchased to date as part of a fundraising and community awareness campaign launched by the Oshkosh Fire Department and the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation. The 13 other units are being used in Oshkosh Police and Winnebago County Sheriff's Department patrol vehicles. More than $50,000 toward a $100,000 goal was raised from major corporate and individual donors. As more funds are raised, more units will be installed throughout the community.

AEDs administer a controlled electric shock to the chest or heart of a person suffering cardiac arrest to correct his or her life-threatening irregular heartbeat. The units recently installed are designed for use by non-professional rescuers and provide audible instructions.

"Our donors really stepped up to fund this effort to help make Oshkosh a heart safe community," said Diane Abraham, president and CEO of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation. "While it's unfortunate that this theft occurred, the Community Foundation stands firmly behind this effort and we will continue to raise money with the hope that we can install even more public access AEDs and potentially help save lives."

If you have information and would like to remain anonymous, please contact Winnebago County Wide Crime Stoppers at (920) 231-8477 or text IGOTYA and your crime tip to 274637. Anonymous texts can be submitted via the web at www.winnebagocrimestoppers.org. You may be eligible for up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

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