CAPITOLA (CBS SF) – Investigators released new surveillance photos Monday evening in hopes they will help identify the suspect who stole a fire commander’s wallet while he was fighting the CZU Lightning Complex Fire.

The suspect was caught on camera using one of the firefighter’s stolen credit cards at the Shell Gas Station and Safeway on 41st Avenue, in Capitola.

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(Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office)

According to detectives, the wallet was stolen overnight between August 21 and August 22.

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The firefighter left his truck parked at the Bonny Doon Fire Station while he was fighting the CZU Lightning Complex Fire.

The thief entered the commander’s department vehicle, stole personal items, including his wallet and drained his bank account, according to Battalion Chief Mark Brunton.

The suspect is described as a male with light colored, shoulder length hair, last seen wearing a SF Giant hat, a checkered face mask, black t-shirt, light blue jeans and black Vans-style shoes.

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“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,” said Chief Brunton when the theft was originally announced.

Anyone with information on the suspect should call Detective Kenville 831-359-8813.


There have been several cases of looting in areas where wildfires are burning.

Authorities confirmed the arrest of two suspected looters in the CZU Lightning Complex evacuation zone, on Monday. One suspect was a 51-year-old woman in Felton.

The second suspect was a 49-old-man who was arrested after a short pursuit. Police said he was carrying $5,000 in cash.

Two other people found in the evacuation zone were cited.

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On Friday, five suspected looters were arrested in the area.