Two people are accused of breaking into a home in Washington while posing as firefighters after residents evacuated for a wildfire, deputies said.
The burglary was reported at about 8:15 a.m. Monday, Aug. 21, in Medical Lake, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
A family member of the resident spotted a blue Audi parked in the home’s driveway, deputies said.
The caller said no one was supposed to be there at the time.
A 38-year-old man wearing a “yellow high-visibility long-sleeve shirt similar to a firefighter” told the caller he needed to put air into a flat tire, deputies said.
Deputies said the caller saw the tire needed air and directed the man to his shop.
Then a 37-year-old woman came from behind the home, got into the car and the two drove off, deputies said. They didn’t stop at the shop.
The caller checked the home and it was unlocked. Nothing appeared missing, but the kitchen cabinets looked like they had been gone through, deputies said.
The homeowner later said two drills that cost $300 were missing, deputies said.
Authorities said that around 4 p.m. they found a blue Audi nearby with two people inside. They told deputies they were lost and trying to get back to Tacoma.
But authorities saw a yellow shirt in the car, and after further investigation, they were both arrested on residential burglary charges.
“Two people, a male and a female, who were over here from Tacoma posing as firefighters and burglarizing our residences,” Sheriff John Nowels said in a press conference recorded by KREM on Aug. 22.
The Gray Fire has burned more than 10,000 acres in southwestern Spokane County, prompting evacuations since it started on Aug. 18, according to authorities.
As of Aug. 23, the blaze is 48% contained. At least 185 structures have been destroyed.
Another massive wildfire is burning in the northeastern part of the county. The Oregon Fire has burned over 11,000 acres since Aug. 18. It’s 0% contained as of Aug. 23.
Medical Lake is about 15 miles southwest of Spokane.