SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — More than a dozen fire stations have been targeted in a series of burglaries in North Sacramento County over the last two months.
“It affects our ability to do our job and keep the public safe, it’s very concerning,” said Capt. Chris Vestal with Sacramento Metro Fire.
Most of the 14 burglaries and attempted burglaries happened at Sac Metro fire stations, one in Roseville and a Sacramento City Fire Station was also vandalized.
“It definitely hits us, we try to operate as efficiently as possible and to lose any kind of important resource such as our safety equipment, that affects us,” said Vestal.
Apparently, the thief was mainly after power tools—saws and chainsaws
“These (saws) are a few thousand dollars each so obviously having lost several of these, and having to replace them there’s a financial loss to that from the district,” he said.
That loss was more than $30,000. Some of these burglaries were so brazen, firefighters say the suspect broke in through a window right next to where the fire crews sleep.
“Firefighters were in the station at the time, apparatus was inside the station also,” said Vestal.
Sacramento Sheriff’s Department spokesperson, Sgt. Tony Turnbull says they believe all these incidents are connected.
“The things stolen were all similar, expensive power tools, the entries were very similar, the time of night when it occurred were all pretty similar,” said Turnbull.
Lonnie Schaefer, 28, of Sacramento, was arrested Monday morning after being spotted by deputies leaving the Metro Fire station on Greenback Lane in Orangevale.
Schaefer had allegedly burglarized the station and when approached by deputies, he fled. He was later tracked down to a home in Citrus Heights where he was taken into custody by Citrus Heights Police.
“There’s always a possibility there are other suspects, we don’t know if he acted alone or not,” said Turnbull.
Schaefer is a wanted parolee from Kansas, he’s also a convicted arsonist. He was arrested for burglary, vandalism, and resisting arrest. He was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail and is currently ineligible for bail.
Schaefer is scheduled to be arraigned in Sacramento Superior Court on Wednesday.
Detectives are asking anyone with information relating to this incident or any others, to please contact the Sheriff’s Department