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The man who stole a firetruck during the Camp Fire was just sentenced to probation

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Nine months after he was arrested in Butte County on charges of stealing a firetruck during the Camp Fire, Robert Christopher DePalma, 60, of Concow, was sentenced to three years of felony probation and ordered to pay $6,180 in victim restitution, officials said.

DePalma’s arrest was one of several arrests in the week of Nov. 11 following the Camp Fire.

DePalma and William Michael Erlbacher, also of Concow, were arrested on Nov. 8 in connection with the burglary of a Cal Fire fire station in Butte County, The Bee previously reported. They faced five felony counts including looting, vehicle theft and possession of stolen property.

Cal Fire officers who were fighting the Camp Fire blazes when the burglary occurred discovered later that day that a firetruck was missing. .

On Nov. 16, the stolen truck was found at a residence in Chico. DePalma and Erlbacher covered the license plate with a board and the back windshield with a blanket.

Erlbacher admitted to the crime when confronted by law enforcement, the release said. DePalma conceded that he drove the vehicle to Chico.

The firetruck had suffered damage, District Attorney Mike Ramsey said during the hearing, according to the press release.

The Butte County Deputy District Attorney’s Office “has a zero-tolerance policy for looters as such persons victimize the community, and those apprehended for such crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible,” Ramsey said.

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Caroline Ghisolfi, from Stanford University, is a local news reporter for The Sacramento Bee, focusing on breaking news and health care. She grew up in Milan, Italy.
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