When breaking and entering into a building to commit a theft, most burglars are looking for valuable goods that they can easily exchange for cash, including laptop computers, jewelry, and prescription medications. However, some burglars end up taking other items that they may use in other ways in the future. A serial burglary suspect was recently arrested in Antioch, with a Berkeley Fire Department uniform among his stolen items.
Antioch police came across a Honda Odyssey that was reported stolen out of Orinda. As police approached the vehicle, 24-year-old Marcus Griffin was trying to get out of the minivan, but was intercepted by police. Officers placed Griffin under arrest, and booked him into the Martinez Detention Facility. According to police, a search of the vehicle turned up a large amount of stolen property from at least three separate burglaries in Berkeley, Moraga and Orinda. One of those items included the firefighter's uniform.
It is unclear what Griffin planned to do with the firefighter's uniform; however, people may be less likely to report a firefighter snooping around in their neighbor's backyard. Earlier this year, another individual was arrested and charged with burglary after he'd absconded from a fire station wearing stolen items. Watsonville firefighters returned from a medical call, and saw a suspicious individual walking away from the fire station. They called police who spoke to the individual. It turns out the suspect, Francisco Gonzalez, was wearing items stolen from the fire station, including overalls, gloves and shoes.
However, in some cases the firefighters themselves are the ones tempted to steal. Despite their jobs as public servants, they can still get caught and charged with a serious crime. Last year a Sacramento firefighter pleaded no contest to burglary charges related to allegedly stealing prescription opiates. Craig White was a firefighter and paramedic. While off duty, he put on his official uniform, complete with badge, and went to a mobile home park in Sacramento. He went to seven separate residences, saying he was there to conduct a fire safety inspection.
After the elderly residents would let White in, he would ask to use the bathroom. While in the bathroom, White would reportedly search for prescription medications, and stole prescription drugs from at least two of the victims. He was charged with burglary and elder abuse. Under the plea deal, his sentence will be suspended while he serves a year in county jail, and 5 years of probation. He will also have to enter drug rehabilitation.
Prosecutors here in the East Bay take burglary charges very seriously. Under California Penal Code 459, a burglary can be charged as a misdemeanor, or a felony, depending on the specifics of the crime. Penalties can include up to six years in prison, or more depending on the individual's criminal record.
If you were arrested on charges of burglary or theft, the arrest does not have to end in a criminal conviction. At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people charged with criminal offenses in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of criminal defense experience, she understands the possible penalties involved. Contact a local East Bay criminal defense attorney who understands the local criminal laws, and will make sure you get the justice you deserve.