2 arrested for vandalizing fire crew's equipment

Posted: Friday, August 21, 2009

KENAI - Kenai police say they've arrested two men found with one of several vehicles stolen during a looting rampage at a firefighters' compound in the Palmer area.

The arrests are the first in connection with the ransacking of the headquarters of the Pioneer Peak Hotshots, a crew of firefighters that travels around Alaska and the Lower 48 battling wildfires. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of firefighting equipment was looted, five vehicles were stolen and nearly 20 cars were broken into at the compound.

The arrests came Tuesday after Kenai police learned that a traffic violation they investigated Sunday involved one of the stolen pickups.

Mitch Langseth of the Kenai police said David Fetters, 24, of Anchorage, and William Gregory, 24, of Kenai, have been charged with first-degree theft.

Fetters was initially stopped for speeding, then arrested Sunday for driving with a suspended license. He was still in jail when police learned the pickup had been stolen.

The Hotshot crew had been away for two weeks fighting a blaze near Fairbanks. They returned Tuesday to find the damage.

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