Looters victimize firefighter as wildfires rage on

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • A firefighter has fallen victim to looters who stole his wallet while he was out supervising firefighting crews in Santa Cruz County.
  • Sheriff Jim Hart of the Santa Cruz County said in a press conference on Sunday that looters have taken advantage of the wildfires and have been stealing from empty homes.
  • Thousands of residents have been forced to evacuate as the wildfires continue to burn across the state.

Officials revealed on Sunday that a California firefighter was among the many victims of looters who took advantage of the wildfires that continue to raze North California.

Battalion Chief Mark Brunton of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection told reporters that the theft took place while the firefighter was out leading firefighting crews in Santa Cruz County. The unnamed firefighter’s wallet was stolen from his marked car and his bank account emptied.

According to Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart, looters have been burglarizing empty houses after residents near the CZU Lightning Complex wildfire were forced to evacuate from their homes. Reports also revealed that by Sunday night, the CZU Lightning Complex wildfire has already burned 74,000 acres, killed one person, and is 8% contained.

So far, Hart’s department had already arrested eight suspects for allegedly stealing personal possessions from homes such as guns and an outdoor heating system.

“I have no empathy, I have no patience for somebody who is going to come into our community and steal from people who have been evacuated and victimized and traumatized,” Hart told reporters at a press conference.

He also vowed to stop anyone who doesn’t belong in the areas and arrest them. As for the burglarized firefighter, Hart is confident the thief will be found.

“We’re going to hand that case over to the [district attorney] and the DA is going to hammer this guy,” added Hart.

Over the past week, over 500 wildfires have burned across California, fuelled by a sweltering and record-breaking heatwave and about 12,000 lightning strikes. The wildfires have also scorched nearly 1 million acres forcing tens of thousands of residents to evacuate.

The LNU Lightning Complex Fire is considered the second-largest wildfire in California history.

As of Sunday night, 348,000 acres in counties north of San Francisco, including Napa and Sonoma have been burned and were 21% contained. Another massive fire burning in San Francisco’s East Bay and farther south, razing over 344,000 acres by Sunday is the SCU Lightning Complex wildfire, the state’s third-largest fire in its history. It was just 10% contained.

Source: AOL

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