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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Vacaville firefighter responding to call finds stolen items from his own home

 VACAVILLE, Calif. — Vacaville firefighter Louis Jones knew he wasn't seeing things when he responded Thursday morning to a call at a mobile home — and saw items that had been stolen from him last week.

A home on Bishop Drive that Jones had been preparing to rent out was burglarized overnight last week. A 4-wheel dirt bike, washer and dryer, tools, lawn mower, wood chipper, power tools, hand tools and personal items were stolen.

When he arrived at the mobile home on Sunset Drive for a medical call Thursday, he noticed another missing item that looked familiar -- a plastic, bright yellow wedge used to stabilize cars during extractions was being used as a doorstop on the gate to the home.

"I recognized it right away," Jones said. "I became suspicious right away."

His suspicions were confirmed when he went inside the home and saw the missing Whirlpool washer and dryer he intended to leave to the new tenants of his rental home.

Being a firefighter and medical responder, he kept his cool, he said. The man in the mobile home was transported to VacaValley Hospital.

"We took care of our business and left," Jones said.

As Jones and the other responders were leaving, they encountered 47-year-old Ricky Mankini, who also lived at the mobile home park, according to Vacaville police Officer Debi Lopez.

"We didn't confront him," Jones said. "I called the police."

Vacaville police contacted Mankini at the hospital, where he was visiting his housemate, Jones said. A search of Mankini's vehicle revealed more stolen items and Mankini was arrested for possession of stolen property and booked into the Solano County jail, Lopez said.

Jones returned to the mobile home where he identified his property.

"The only thing we recovered was the washer and dryer, a lawn mower, some paint, hinges, paint brushes and keepsakes -- beer steins with firefighting related artwork," Jones said.

The recovered property is worth about $2,300, Lopez said.

"Ninety percent of the stuff is still missing," Jones said. He estimates it's worth between $8,000 and $10,000.

But Jones, a firefighter for 20 years, 10 of them with the Vacaville department, kept his perspective about the stolen property.

"It's just stuff," he said. "It's not like it's a life or death situation."

Source: San Jose Mercury - Link

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