PHOENIX – a Phoenix firefighter was Friday arrested after authorities said he broke into fire stations and a stable of colleagues, sometimes after the setting of the fires to keep them away.
The police said they announced the arrest after the off-duty, 36-year-old firefighter was caught doing a break-in at a train station earlier in the day. His name was not released because he is not yet booked.
“We were able to actually observe him committing the crime,” police spokesman Alan Pfohl said. “During an interview, he did admit to other crimes.”
Monitoring and tips from other firefighters led investigators to the suspect, who could face eight counts of theft, two counts of arson and one count each of burglary, criminal damage.
The suspect was described as an 11-year veteran of the Phoenix Fire department who was employed as a “rover” and rotate between the different stations. Authorities say the thefts were done while the man was off-duty.
The police said that several of the firefighters reported money missing from their wallet as well as from the collections to pay for the meal-shopping.
The thefts started in the beginning of January, while the crews were on call.
Police say the thief, you would change the station after the departure of the fire brigade.
The arson charges stem from the dumpster or other trash fire that Pfohl said were as a distraction.
Phoenix Fire spokesman Larry Subervi said thefts by one of their own were difficult to understand.
“We are a family. So if there is a type of theft, whether internal or external, it is difficult for us,” Subervi said.