HAILEY, Idaho (AP) - Police arrested a teenager suspected of stealing computers, coins and other valuables from the cars of people preparing to flee from a massive wildfire earlier this month in the Sun Valley resort region.
Casey E. Farley, 18, of Boise targeted seven loaded vehicles after returning to the area as flames crept toward the town of Hailey on Aug. 21, Police Chief Jeff Gunter said.
At the height of the Beaver Creek fire, more than 2,000 homes were evacuated and thousands of other residents were under pre-evacuation orders urging them to have their cars packed with valuables and keepsakes so they could leave at a moment's notice.
Farley was charged in 5th District Court with four counts of burglary and one count of grand theft, the Idaho Mountain Express reported Tuesday. He was also charged with misdemeanor drug possession.
Farley was being held in Blaine County Jail in Hailey. Christopher Simms was appointed as his public defender.
"Let's let due process of law take its course before we rush to any judgment," Simms told The Associated Press.
The fire charred about 170 square miles as it became the nation's top-priority wildfire, attracting nearly 2,000 firefighters as flames and smoke chased people from the Ketchum and Sun Valley areas.
It was about 92 percent contained on Tuesday and one house had burned.
Police said all the stolen items, valued at $3,000, have been recovered.
Gunter said Farley previously lived in Hailey but had moved about 130 miles west to Boise.
Court records indicate he had numerous contacts with the law as a juvenile, including arrests for petty theft and battery, as well as incorrigible behavior.
A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 4.
Information from: Idaho Mountain Express