POLLOCK PINES (CBS13) — An alleged looter has been arrested during a patrol of the Caldor Fire evacuation area in El Dorado County, authorities say.
The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office says, Wednesday morning, a suspicious man was spotted on a Pollock Pines resident's home surveillance camera.
"We got a call from a citizen actually watching one of their surveillance cameras," said Sgt. Eric Palmberg with the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies soon converged on the area and stopped the man. He was found with items that deputies suspected to have been stolen.
That man, identified as 51-year-old Brandon Massey, has since been arrested and is now facing charges of looting during a State of Emergency and possession of a controlled substance, among other charges.
Massey was the first confirmed arrest regarding looting during the Caldor Fire.
It was a scary thought for people whose homes have been left empty.
"It opens up the whole area for looting," said John Niebuhr.
He was evacuated from the fire more than a week ago.
The sheriff's office notes that security patrols did more than 50 traffic stops in the Caldor Fire evacuation area on Tuesday alone.
While they may be doing dozens of traffic stops a day, the sheriff's office stresses that - contrary to any rumors - there is no widespread looting going on in the Caldor Fire evacuation area.
Stealing property is typically considered the, but during a state of emergency like a wildfire, theft gets upgraded to looting.
"It's what we call a wobbler," Palmberg said. "It can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony."
The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office said it has increased patrols in the Caldor Fire evacuation zone.
"Patrolling, checking residences to make sure we can protect property," Palmberg said.
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