Northern California Plagued By Looting In The Aftermath Of The Wild Fires

Wild Fires

Parts of Northern California is ravaged by wildfires that spread out of control earlier this month. As if it isn’t bad enough to have the sheer destruction, looting seems to be adding further complications. In Santa Rosa, Saturday night turned out to be a fateful one for two criminals. The police was called to the southern edge of town where the Tubbs fire was. Here, they arrested two suspects. Though their arrest wasn’t peaceful, it led police on a high-speed chase through the city before finally surrendering.

The two suspects, Sean Kranyak and Cristina Marsh, neither have ties to Sonoma County. Officers took them into custody for looting, conspiracy, automobile theft and suspicion of four other felonies. The two are from Monterey and Marina. Though this duo let police on a wild chase, they are not the only ones that have tried to profit from the loss of others.

At the early stage of the fire, Santa Rosa police were called out numerous times because of suspicious activity. In fact, more than 60 calls alerted authorities to check out more than a half-dozen people alleged of looting. The calls led to at least six arrests. In one of the burned neighborhoods, police arrested a man carrying jewelry and a cellphone. In another bizarre case, a man backed his pickup truck up to a group home. He loaded up their dryer and washer, on top of other things.

Due to so many homes being empty, Santa Rosa officials have issued a mandatory curfew in the evacuation zones. Kranyak and Marsh were caught entering an apartment complex, Overlook Fountain Grove. They were carrying a flat-screen television out of the building. A resident, who watched the entire event, reported the incident to police. The truck was found less than a mile away. It was stuck in traffic among the congestion at the National Guard roadblock. Seeing the cop car scared the driver. Kranyak pushed his way out of the line of traffic. He accelerated over the curb and headed southbound toward the downtown area.

A chase ensued. The suspects led police down a residential street marked as 40 mpg going over 70 mph. Officers lost track of the truck just west of Highway 101. However, another tip from another resident allowed them to find the pickup abandoned. When police arrived on the scene, Kranyak and Marsh were climbing over a fence. Police took them into custody as well as recovered stolen property on their persons. Both are being held on a $500,000 bail in the Sonoma County jail.
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Police and government officials hope that the curfew will help to lessen the looting going on in the area. Unfortunately, many homes continue to sit empty, which means the problem will likely get worse before it gets better.


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