SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — The Santa Cruz County Sheriff introduced Thursday the arrest a Dwell Oak man who confessed to stealing a hearth commander’s pockets whereas he fought the CZU Lightning Complicated Fireplace.
Sheriff Jim Hart mentioned investigators arrested 37-year-old Brian Lee Johnson on Wednesday evening for the theft. Detectives assigned to the Sheriff’s workplace acquired a tip from an nameless telephone name that led to Johnson.
An investigation crew went to his home on a probation search and recovered merchandise that he purchased with the stolen bank cards.
Hart mentioned that whereas detectives took Johnson into custody, he expressed regret for his actions.
“He admitted that he had used the credit cards and made the charges,” mentioned Hart. “He also sat down and wrote a letter of apology to the fireman and he was then arrested for multiple felony charges.”
CZU LIGHTNING COMPLEX FIRES
Detectives arrested Johnson on a number of felony fees. Johnson’s fees embrace forgery, grand theft, bank card theft, possession of stolen property and a probation violation.
Hart mentioned detectives turned across the case in lower than 48 hours and are following up on one other person who may have been concerned within the authentic break-in.
Johnson reportedly stole the pockets in a single day on Aug. 21 whereas the firefighter, who was not recognized, was serving to comprise the large blaze round Santa Cruz County. The firefighter had parked his pickup truck at Bonny Doon Fireplace Station whereas he labored in a single day, and Johnson broke into it and stole private gadgets, together with the fireplace commander’s pockets.
Later, Johnson drained the firefighter’s bank account.
“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,” mentioned Chief Brunton when the theft was initially introduced.
Days later, surveillance video captured Johnson utilizing one of many firefighter’s stolen bank cards on the Shell Fuel Station and Safeway on 41st Avenue, in Capitola.
“Clearly he didn’t realize when he used the firefighter’s credit card of what he was getting into,” Hart mentioned on the press convention.
Madison Knight, who recognized herself because the suspect’s girlfriend, instructed KPIX the sheriff acquired it improper. Knight mentioned Johnson didn’t steal the pockets.
“The truth is that the fireman left his wallet on the counter of a gas station and the person who worked at the gas station is an acquaintance of Brian’s,” Knight mentioned. “He took the wallet and then brought one of the cards and presented it to Brian and Brian made the mistake of using it.”
Knight mentioned Johnson didn’t know whose bank card he had till he noticed the surveillance footage of himself on the information.
“He just was like, ‘I should just turn myself in now and get it over with,’” Knight mentioned.
However Johnson selected to not comply with by means of with surrendering.
“Fear,” Knight provided as a cause. “You know, nobody wants to go to jail. He’s got more consequences than the normal person. He’s going to be gone for years.”
Johnson is presently within the sheriff’s custody on a probation violation. Hart addressed considerations that Johnson could be launched by saying “I’m sure the court is going to hold him.” It was not recognized why he was on probation because it was in one other county, Hart mentioned.
Hart mentioned he didn’t know the whole quantity of what Johnson stole, although he mentioned one buy was for $1,400. Hart added that the whole wasn’t what mattered.
“It doesn’t matter to me if it was $1,000 or $5,000. What matters is that someone who came to help us was victimized and that’s not right,” Hart mentioned.
Johnson is anticipated to be arraigned Friday.
The firefighter’s bank reversed all fees and, if the bank hadn’t, a number of folks from across the nation volunteered to pay the firefighter’s money owed, Hart mentioned.
“[The firefighter] said he’s good now and all he wants to do is get back on that line and fight fires.”
© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. KPIX correspondent Joe Vazquez contributed to this report