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Homeless man arrested after allegedly burglarizing fire trucks

Merced police said they arrested a homeless man this week after he was seen stealing tools and other items from a fire truck.

Matthew Thomas McCoy, 20, was taken into custody after officers saw him looking through fire trucks parked in the Hampton Inn parking lot at 225 S. Parsons Ave. around 3:45 a.m. Tuesday, according to Merced Police Cmdr. Floyd Higdon.

Higdon said the firefighters, with Cal Fire in Riverside County, were staying at the hotel and resting after hours of battling the Telegraph fire in Mariposa County. “It’s a sad state when firefighters have come from a faraway distance and put their lives on the line — and have their trucks broken into," Higdon said.

After seeing McCoy near the trucks, an officer tried to talk to him — at which point he ran away, Higdon said.

More officers responded, and McCoy was eventually found about a half-block away from the hotel. In his possession, police found a tool box taken from a fire engine. McCoy had also stuffed personal clothing belonging to a firefighter in his backpack, Higdon said.

Higdon said McCoy admitted to taking the tool box and clothing from the fire engine. He was arrested and booked at the Merced County Jail on suspicion of auto burglary.

McCoy remains at the John Latorraca Correctional Center in lieu of $25,000 bail.