While helping to contain the life-threatening, ever-growing CZU Lightning fire, a CAL FIRE ground commander had their department vehicle broken into, wallet stolen, and bank account completely drained this weekend; welcome to 2020.
As if this year couldn't get any more disheartening, CAL FIRE officials reported Sunday that a member of their ground crew had their wallet stolen and bank account emptied after vandals broke into their work truck. The news was broken earlier today during a short morning press conference by CAL FIRE operations chief Mark Brunton, according to both ABC7 and SFGATE.
"It’s absolutely disgusting behavior," said Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Chris Clark about the apparent crime. "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."
Another CAL FIRE commander, per SFGATE, called the alleged crime "saddening" and "sickening."
But the thief’s very presence by the ground commander's truck — which was parked in an evacuation zone — was also illegal; it's also not yet known if more than one vandal participated in the looting.
"Being in the evacuation zone, technically it’s against the law," Clark added. "I can completely emphasize with protecting your house, I get that, but if you’re riding around, it’s technically a violation of [the law]."
As reported by ABC7, this robbery also comes after Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office officials said they arrested five people on “suspicion of looting" from evacuated properties Friday.
"It's terrible and disgusting,” Clark announced before the weekend, adding that it’s "sad" that those five individuals decided to prey on several members of the community who are already reeling.
SGATE reports the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office is investigating the CAL FIRE robbery, noting that no arrests have yet been made in relation to the case.
Image: A Northern California fire crew member setting a "fire back burn" to stop the Poomacha fire circa 2007, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons