A firefighter in California says his wallet was stolen from a department vehicle while he was battling blazes over the weekend, and he returned to find his bank account had been “drained” by the thief.
The incident happened while the firefighter — a fire ground commander — was directing crews near the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire overnight between Friday and Saturday, a spokeswoman for the Santa Cruz County Sheriff told USA Today.
Fire officials told the Washington Post that the thief racked up charges on the firefighter’s credit card and used money from his bank account.
The firefighter’s vehicle, marked with his department’s name, was parked at the Bonny Door Fire Department in Santa Cruz when the wallet was stolen.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) Operations Chief Mark Brunton called the incident “sickening” during a press conference on Sunday.
“It’s unfortunate. It’s 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, his department vehicle, and stole his wallet and drained his bank account,” Brunton said.
CalFire CZU said on Twitter that a GoFundMe account that was created to help the firefighter has no ties to the firefighter or the department.
The incident involving the firefighter’s wallet comes after five people were arrested under suspicion of looting homes that had been evacuated, according to KTLA.