Monday, August 15, 2022


Dumb crooks swipe FEMA trailers

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

It was blow enough that the huge California wildfire dubbed the Camp Fire engulfed the town of Paradise, killing 86 people and wiping out close to 14,000 homes. Now come a couple of knuckleheads who have earned their “Dumb Crook” designation in connection with the aftermath of the disaster.

One of the filched Forest Rivers. Redding PD photo.

Just before 7:00 in the morning on December 28, a resident of a mobile home park in Redding, California, woke up to the sound of scraping metal. His ears led his eyes to witness a Chevy SUV towing – evidently with some difficulty – a travel trailer out of the park. Turns out the trailer was a brand-new Forest River, put there by FEMA to help house victims of the Camp Fire. Police were called, and it didn’t take long to find that another FEMA trailer had also been purloined from the same park.

Wayne Bergman. Redding PD photo.

Not long after, reports arrived that a white SUV had been spotted northeast of the park on Highway 44 in the vicinity of Palo Cedro, curiously enough, towing a travel trailer. A California Highway Patrol chopper pilot spotted it, followed it, and directed police officers on up the road to a home near Millville. When Redding police and CHP officers arrived, they chatted up one Wayne J. Bergman, a 58-year-old who admitted, yep, he’d taken that shiny Forest River trailer home with him. Needless to say, Wayne got a free ride in a patrol car, as did two other folks at the house who, while having nothing to do with the trailer theft, did happen to have outstanding arrest warrants.

Not long after, CHP air patrollers also spotted that other missing travel trailer, this one in Bella Vista, farther northeast of Redding. Police officers responded to a house on (appropriately enough) Albatross Way. The home’s owner said the trailer had somehow shown up at his place earlier that day. He evidently pointed the finger of possibility at his brother, one Wayne Bergman. While visiting with the homeowner, the police spotted what they described as a “suspicious” pickup truck turn up near the residence. Their gut intuition suggested the driver might be there to fetch the stolen travel trailer, so they stopped the driver for a chat. Turns out the driver (not the brother of the homeowner) was not only on probation, the pickup he was driving had been reported stolen. They eventually caught up with Wayne Bergman, who was booked along with all these other folks; Bergman charged with initial possession of a stolen vehicle – the second travel trailer.

FEMA now has its trailers back, and at least five characters are on the shaded side of the bars of the local lockup.


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Bill Lampkin
3 years ago

The tragedy is that its been nearly two months since the Camp Fire and I only know of 12 FEMA trailers in place and in use. Residents of Chico last month said “Not in my back yard” when FEMA proposed to site 200 FEMA trailers out by the airport. So much for “Butte Strong”. That’s no way to treat your neighbors. There are still almost 800 people living in the only remaining shelter for fire evacuees at Silver Dollar Fairgrounds.

Bob p
3 years ago

As once said by a prominent LEO, the only criminals in prison are the stupid ones, the smart ones are still on the street committing crimes and getting away with them.!

3 years ago

Another one of those “STUPID is as STUPID Does!

Makes you wonder sometimes?

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