Thieves, dope growers work the edges of the Detwiler Fire

Fire truck used at Detwiler Fire burglarized, man arrested
Sheldon Gajarian

Merced, Calif. — According to the Merced County Sheriff's Office, the firefighting equipment that was stolen has been recovered.
Detective Adam Deniz took on the case and put out a statewide BOL (be on the lookout) regarding the theft of the equipment.
Stockton CHP called Detective Deniz stating they believed they had located the stolen firefighting equipment.
The CHP said they had made a vehicle stop on a stolen vehicle driven by 30-year-old Tyler Allen Huggins-Boyle.
Stockton CHP arrested Tyler and noticed several items of firefighting equipment inside the vehicle. The firefighting equipment was from Los Angeles, San Diego, and Rancho Santa Fe Fire Fighting Strike Teams who had been fighting the Detwiler fires.
Additionally, there were stolen items from an air conditioning repair service. The total amount of stolen firefighting equipment recovered was $25,000.00. Tyler was booked into the San Joaquin County Jail and the firefighting equipment has been returned to the fire fighter strike teams.
The Merced County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank Detective Adam Deniz and the Stockton CHP officers for their hard work and dedication to this case.
- - -
The Merced County Sheriff's Office is looking for the people responsible for an unbelievable crime. 
Sometime between 5:30 pm on July 23, 2017, and 5:00 am on July 24, 2017, a yellow Rancho Santa Fe OES fire engine was burglarized in Merced County.
This fire engine was helping with the ongoing Detwiler fires in Mariposa County and had stopped at the Quality Inn Hotel located in Santa Nella to sleep.
Sometime during the night, the suspects used a pry tool to force open the passenger door. Once inside the fire engine, the suspects took several items belonging to the Fire Department.
Be on the lookout for items such as:

  • Black or yellow VHF handheld radios with orange batteries.
  • Navy Blue class B uniforms with names and patches on them.
  • Wildland boots, Wildland pants, Wildland helmets with RSF on it, Wildland jackets with SDFD on the back.
  • Orange Kestrel weather meter
  • White spare engine key to the Fire Engine.

This is an ongoing investigation and the detective’s office is actively following leads in regards to the case.
If you have any information in regards to this investigation please contact Detective Deniz at 209-710-6005 or 24hr dispatch at 209-385-7445.
Three alleged Detwiler Fire looters arrested in Yaqui Gulch
Mark Evan Smith
Three people in possession of needles and a methamphetamine pipe have been arrested for allegedly attempting to loot evacuated areas during the Detwiler Fire, the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office reported Monday.
Trevor Holbrook, 26 of Waterford, Holly Patrick, 38 of Waterford, and John Johnson, 40 of Modesto, were arrested and booked into Mariposa County Jail on charges of theft and receiving stolen property.
The three were driving in the recently repopulated area of Yaqui Gulch, the sheriff’s office said, when they were contacted. The area was open only to residents.
The three appeared to have stolen equipment including a generator, first aid kit, power tools, and other items, the sheriff’s office said. The narcotics paraphernalia was also found in the vehicle.
The sheriff’s office said numerous law enforcement agencies are supporting their efforts to enhance security and enforcement in evacuated areas, as well as the county at large

Merced Sun-Star
Someone is stealing from firefighters staying in Merced to battle the Detwiler Fire
By Thaddeus Miller
As firefighters rested in their Merced hotel rooms after 24-hour shifts fighting the fast-moving Detwiler Fire, someone was stealing their equipment, Merced police confirmed.
Police took five reports on Monday of equipment stolen from fire trucks used in the fight against the blaze that broke out in Mariposa County, Capt. Bimley West said. And, another engine was burglarized near Santa Nella, according to the Merced County Sheriff’s Office.
Nearly 5,000 firefighters from 114 crews from around the state are headquartered in Merced for the fire that’s reached 80,000 acres, according to the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
West said two trucks were parked at Best Western Inn on Motel Drive and three were at the Holiday Inn Express on Parsons Avenue. Two radios, two firefighting helmets and an Apple iPhone were reported stolen.
“These are items that the firefighters use while on duty trying to protect lives as well as protect properties,” West said. “It’s a shame that (to) these thieves there’s nothing sacred to them.”
More than 400 fire engines and water tenders are being used to fight flames, not to mention dozens of helicopters and air tankers, according to CalFire.
An engine parked overnight on Sunday at Quality Inn in Santa Nella was pried open, according to deputies. The thieves took hand-held radios, navy blue class B uniforms with names and patches on them, a weather meter and a spare key to the engine. They also took boots, pants and helmets marked with “RSF,” for Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego County.
CalFire Battalion Chief Jeremy Rahn said the engines that have been burglarized belong to crews from out of the area, noting the firefighters have returned from “tirelessly” trying to protect homes and businesses near the fire.
“It’s extremely disappointing that our fellow firefighters come to this area to assist us and they had to experience this in our community,” he said.
West said detectives are looking into the thefts in hopes to recover the equipment.
Anyone with information regarding the Santa Nella crime is asked to call 209-710-6005 or the 24-hour dispatch at 209-385-7445. To report information to Merced police, call 209-385-6905.
Modesto Bee
Detwiler fire patrol finds marijuana grow that nearly caused another fire
By Vikaas Shanker
Investigators said a large marijuana grow operation concealed in a Midpines home nearly started another fire after the Mariposa County area was recently re-populated after the Detwiler fire.
Mutual aid law enforcement officers were patrolling re-populated areas Tuesday evening when they saw a power transformer sparking near a home on East Whitlock Road in Midpines, according to a news release from the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office.
PG&E crews called to the scene found that the home was pulling more power than the generator could handle, according to the release. The crews also discovered that the power meter was altered with an electrical bypass.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene and found numerous marijuana plants, the release states.
After a search warrant was obtained, deputies searched the home Wednesday, finding and destroying 1,013 marijuana plants inside and outside the home.
Several rooms had been converted into marijuana grow operations, bypassing the electric meter.
The release did not specify if anyone was arrested or if suspects are being sought.
“Not only were these subjects illegally growing marijuana,” the release states, “but they were stealing power to do so and nearly started another fire in an area that was recently re-populated after the devastating Detwiler Fire.”