Arrest made in theft of CAL FIRE FF's wallet
Officials say the man was identified through an anonymous tip and reportedly made a confession
SFGate, San Francisco
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. — Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart announced Thursday that officials have arrested a man accused of stealing a CZU Lightning Complex firefighter's wallet and subsequently draining his bank account.
The man, identified as Brian Johnson of Live Oak (which is near Santa Cruz), allegedly used the firefighter's credit cards at a Shell gas station and at a Capitola Safeway grocery store.
After receiving an anonymous tip possibly linking Johnson to the crimes, detectives were able to match his clothing with what was seen in surveillance tapes when the cards were used. Hart explained the suspect "clearly didn't realize what he was getting himself into."
Johnson later reportedly confessed to the crimes.
“He admitted that he had used the credit cards and made the charges,” Hart said. “He also sat down and wrote a letter of apology to the fireman and he was then arrested for multiple felony charges.”
Johnson will be charged with credit card theft, forgery, grand theft, possession of stolen property and a probation violation.
The firefighter had been working with crews at the Bonny Doon Fire Station on Sunday when someone gained entry to his fire vehicle and stole his personal belongings, which included his wallet and credit cards. Cal Fire Operations Chief Mark Brunton later told reporters that the firefighter's bank account had been wiped out, calling the ordeal "unfortunate" and "sickening."
Fortunately, the firefighter has since been able to work with his bank to get the charges reversed, and now, as Hart said, "all he wants to do is get back on that line and fight fires.”
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