Fugitives West Coast

Firefighter’s Wallet’s Stolen Bank Account Emptied While Fighting Fires

Firefighter’s Wallet’s Stolen Bank Account Emptied While Fighting Fires

ID #20-298 Photo provided by Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office

ID #20-298 Photo provided by Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office

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SANTA CRUZ, California

Officials say a firefighter battling the CZU Lightning Complex fire near Santa Cruz was targeted by opportunistic thieves over the weekend.

Cal Fire officials say a ground commander returned to his work truck, parked in the evacuation zone, to find it had been broken into. His wallet was stolen and officials say the man then discovered his bank account had been drained.

“It’s absolutely disgusting behavior,” Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Chris Clark said. “Frankly I can’t believe someone would have the nerve to break into a firefighter’s vehicle or enter their vehicle to steal something from them when they’re there to protect the community. It honestly blows me away.”

A Cal Fire incident commander called the alleged crime “saddening” and “sickening” at a press briefing Sunday morning. The Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office is investigating; no arrests have been made in the case.

Clark said dozens of officers continue to patrol evacuation zones to protect property and possessions left behind from residents fleeing the fire. Seventy-seven thousand people have been evacuated so far in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

“Being in the evacuation zone, technically it’s against the law. I can completely emphasize with protecting your house, I get that, but if you’re riding around, it’s technically a violation of law,” Clark said. “We have folks that are looking for people, trying to prey on people who have evacuated.”

The CZU Lightning Complex has burned 71,000 acres and is 8% contained as of Sunday morning.

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