Authorities release photos of man suspected of stealing wallet of firefighter battling NorCal fire


Investigators released new surveillance photos Monday evening in hopes they will help identify the suspect who stole a fire commander’s wallet while he was fighting the CZU Lightning Complex fires.

The suspect was caught on camera using one of the firefighter’s stolen credit cards at the Shell Gas Station and the Safeway on 41st Avenue in Capitola, according to San Francisco television station KPIX.

The wallet was stolen overnight between Aug. 21 and 22, detectives said.

The firefighter left his truck parked at the Bonny Doon Fire Station while he was fighting the CZU Lightning Complex fires.

The thief entered the commander’s department vehicle, stole personal items, including his wallet and drained his bank account, according to Battalion Chief Mark Brunton with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection,

The sought man was described as a male with light-colored, shoulder-length hair, authorities said. He last seen wearing a San Francisco Giants hat, checkered face mask, black T-shirt, light blue jeans and black Vans-style shoes.

“It’s unfortunate and sickening that one of our fire ground commanders in that area, while out taking care of business and directing firefighting crews, somebody entered his vehicle,” Brunton said when the theft was originally announced.

Anyone with information on the suspect should call Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Detective Kenville 831-359-8813.

There have been several cases of looting in areas where wildfires are burning.

Authorities confirmed the arrest of two suspected looters in the CZU Lightning Complex evacuation zone on Monday. One suspect was a 51-year-old woman from Felton.

The second suspect — a 49-old-man — was arrested after a short pursuit, according to police, who said he was carrying $5,000 in cash.

Two other people found in the evacuation zone were cited.

On Friday, five suspected looters were arrested in the area.

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