A Petaluma woman was arrested Monday and a Santa Rosa man on Sunday on suspicion of stealing from fire evacuees.
Douglas James Rosado, 49, was arrested by Santa Rosa police officers after witnesses saw his black Ford F150 pickup truck parked near the storage building of an evacuated group home in Rincon Valley, the department said in a news release.
The home, Hope Village, had been evacuated since Oct. 9, and when residents returned on Sunday afternoon, they noticed a stranger’s truck parked there, the release said. When the residents confronted the driver, he stated he was checking on the property and fled. They soon determined several washer and dryer units were taken, as well as two TVs and a wet-dry vacuum.
A photograph of the truck taken by the witnesses led police to Rosado’s Rincon Valley home, where they found two TVs, a wet-dry vacuum, and methamphetamine police believe he intended to sell, the news release said. He was arrested on suspicion of multiple crimes including burglary, looting, maintaining a residence for narcotic sales and being a felon in possession of a stun gun.
Katie Lehnhard, 31, was arrested Monday after a woman noticed fraudulent charges against her bank account and provided a canceled check to police, Petaluma police said in a news release. Lehnhard was already on probation and had an active warrant in her name. A search yielded not just items from the first victim, but IDs, credit cards and checkbooks apparently taken from evacuees staying in Petaluma shelters, as well as other items from vehicles left behind in burned neighborhoods, police said.
She was arrested at noon in the 900 block of Quarry Street in Petaluma, and booked into Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of mail theft, forgery and fraud.
“Unfortunately, some persons take it upon themselves to take advantage of victims of disasters,” Petaluma police said in the release.
The department recommends fire victims contact the U.S. Postal Service to redirect mail, make sure cars are locked at all times, and take extra precautions to protect what personal possessions they have.
You can reach Staff Writer Christi Warren at 707-521-5205 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @SeaWarren.