A suspect was arrested after a Cal Fire firefighter’s wallet was stolen, the sheriff in Santa Cruz County, California, declared. The thief took the bank and credit cards and was reported to have emptied the bank account Saturday, making several purchases of gift cards to spend elsewhere. The suspect is Brian Johnson, 37, of Live Oak. Detectives were able to find clothing matching what was shown in surveillance images of the suspect and merchandise apparently purchased using the firefighter’s cards. It was arrested late Wednesday and is scheduled to be arraigned on multiple charges on either Friday or Monday. According to the sheriff, Johnson admitted his wrongdoing and wrote a letter of apology to the firefighter.
“What matters is that a person that came to help us was victimized, and it’s just not right,” the sheriff said. The CZU Lightning Complex fires, considered to be the largest in the state’s history in terms of acres burned, had been 21 percent contained. Some people around the country are offering to cover the firefighter’s losses but he was able to get his bank and credit card charges reversed. The stolen cards were used at Shell and Safeway on 41st Avenue. CalFire CZU warned the public in a Tweet that a GoFundMe account created to help raise money for the commander who’s wallet was stolen is not associated with the fire department and they advise donors to be cautious when contributing.