Woman Accused of Stealing Credit Cards, Checkbooks from Fire Evacuees

Katie Lehnard (Courtesy: Petaluma Police)

PETALUMA — Police have arrested a woman who they say stole credit cards and checkbooks from evacuees of the Northern California wildfires.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that 31-year-old Katie Lehnhard of Petaluma was identified as a suspect after a fire victim reported to police that fraudulent charges had been made against her bank account.

Police say they conducted a search and found a stash of personal identification information belonging to Santa Rosa fire victims staying in a shelter.

Lynne Stark-Slater, chief deputy public defender for Sonoma County, said she does not know if Lehnhard has a lawyer.

Stark-Slater said she also is not certain if Lehnhard has been charged, as the Superior Court in Sonoma County has closed temporarily due to fires.

Tens of thousands of people were forced from their homes during the wildfires in wine country.

Police advised residents to make sure their vehicles are locked and to contact the U.S. Postal Service to redirect mail if they have lost their home.