SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Hundreds have been pushed from their properties by the wildfire burning within the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco and authorities say criminals are taking benefit by burglarizing vacant properties.
Eight individuals have been arrested on suspicion of looting or planning to loot neighborhoods in Santa Cruz County, Sheriff Jim Hart mentioned Sunday. Extra are anticipated as the general public reviews “plenty of looting occurring,” he mentioned.
At the least 100 officers are patrolling evacuation zones and Hart mentioned he’s ordered his deputies to tug over any non-police or non-fire division autos.
“I’ve no empathy, I’ve no endurance for someone who’s going to come back into our neighborhood and steal from individuals who have been evacuated and victimized and traumatized,” Hart mentioned throughout a information convention with county District Legal professional Jeffrey Rosell.
A number of the arrests got here from neighborhood ideas, together with from residents who refused to evacuate and others who noticed suspicious exercise on their residence safety cameras, Hart mentioned.
He and Rosell vowed to catch and prosecute the thief who broke into a hearth commander’s automobile and stole private gadgets, together with a pockets containing bank cards.
“I can’t think about an even bigger low-life,” Hart mentioned.
Among the many gadgets stolen from homes have been firearms and, in a single case, an outside heating system, officers mentioned.
To the north in Sonoma County, the place a one other large hearth “advanced” rages, police saying looting hasn’t been a serious downside. Deputies arrested one individual on suspicion of breaking into an unoccupied residence, sheriff’s spokeswoman Misti Wooden. mentioned, including deputies have been patrolling hearth zones across the clock to observe for looters.
Rosell famous that with an emergency declaration from the governor in place, penalties are enhanced for individuals who steal or value gouge.