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Suspected Looters Arrested In Evacuated Lake County Towns

LAKEPORT (CBS SF) -- Lake County deputies are arresting people caught in restricted evacuation zones cleared out by the River and Ranch Fires.

A 26-year-old Lucerne man was arrested early Tuesday with a backpack filled with burglary tools on the abandoned streets of a Lake County town that was under a mandatory wildfire evacuation order, authorities said.

The Lake County Sheriff's Department said William Kenneth Pimentel was taken into custody at 7:10 a.m. on Hammond Avenue in Nice. At the time of his arrest, Pimentel was dressed in dark clothing and carrying a backpack containing bolt cutters, flashlight, and rope.

He was booked into jail on charges of being an unauthorized person in an evacuation area, possession of burglary tools and a violation of probation.

Deputies said they had also taken Gerald Earl Silva into custody. Silva told deputies he was homeless and had been seen loitering behind Judy's Junction Restaurant in Upper Lake.

He was arrested in the area of Napa Auto Parts in Upper Lake and at the time he had rubber gloves in his pocket and also had a felony warrant for burglary.

Four other individuals have been detained as they wandered around the abandoned neighborhoods in other Lake County towns. The sheriff's department said if individuals chose not to obey the mandatory evacuation orders they needed to "stay at their property and shelter in place."

"This will help the law enforcement personnel patrolling the evacuated areas in determining people who should not be in the area and aid first responders with keeping roadways clear," the sheriff's department said in a statement.

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