BAGDAD, AZ — An Arizona man is facing several charges after he apparently sifted through the rubble of homes that had burned to the ground during a wildfire last month in Bagdad, Arizona, and took various items that he found, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.
The Spur Fire sparked May 27, near Bagdad, Arizona, a small mining town about 90 minutes west of Prescott, and quickly spread forcing the town's residents to evacuate. More than 20 buildings, including homes, burned in the fire, according to officials.
In a news release, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office said on June 8 someone reported seeing an unknown man going through the debris of someone's house and remove a pellet rifle, and then leave with it in a van.
Later that day, YCSO deputies located the van and the driver, identified as Jorge Meza-Diaz, 45, and a resident of Bagdad.
When confronted, Meza-Diaz reportedly admitted to taking the rifle, but denied taking any other items from people's homes. The gun was stored at his home and given to the YCSO deputy.
The gun had soot on it likely from the fire, YCSO said.
The following day, authorities executed a search warrant at the man's home and found more soot-covered items, believed to be from other homes that were damaged in the fire.
"The residents of Bagdad have already been through a lot. So, to have someone attempt to burglarize people that have already been robbed of so much is disgusting,” said Sheriff David Rhodes in a statement. “A big thank you to the witness who called in suspicious activity and great work to the deputies who continued to follow the case until an arrest was made.”
Meza-Diaz was booked into jail on burglary, theft, and trespassing charges.
YCSO has asked Bagdad residents to check their homes to see if any of their items are missing and to contact them if they believe they may have been victims of theft.