VENTURA, Calif. - An Oxnard man was arrested Saturday morning after police say he stole items from a home that had burned down during the Thomas Fire.
Ventura police responded to the 5400 block of Rainer Street in the city of Ventura, an area in the Thomas Fire burn zone, at around 9:25 a.m.
Police found 47-year-old George Rico of Oxnard sifting through the debris of a home that had been destroyed by the fire. The property owner was present and told Rico that he was not allowed to be on his property.
Police found Rico to be in possession of small valuables that belonged to the property owner. Rico was arrested and booked into the Ventura County Jail.
Police say Rico had been spotted in the area casing the same neighborhood on at least two separate occasions. In one incident, he was seen wearing a reflective vest and told a neighbor that he worked for the county.
Rico faces possible charges for prowling and theft.
Due to the large number of homes damaged and left vacant in the Thomas Fire burn area, neighbors are advised to be extra diligent and report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement.