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Firefighter responds to call, finds his own stolen goods

KCRA-TV's Damany Lewis reports.

Vacaville, Calif., firefighter Louis Jones thought it would be just another typical medical aid case when he and his colleagues responded to an emergency call at a mobile home. Instead, he came upon a surprise find: tools and equipment that had been stolen from his own home.

"I was almost bewildered, I couldn’t believe it," Jones told msnbc.com on Friday.

The surprise discovery happened Thursday morning on his first call of the day. Jones said he and several of his colleagues responded to a medical call at a mobile home in Vacaville. He told KCRA-TV, which first reported on the story, that the first thing he noticed amiss was a yellow plastic wedge in the walkway. The item looked suspiciously like the one he bought online, which was among thousands of dollars' worth of items stolen from his home last week.

Jones said burglars had kicked in the back door to his garage at night and made off with an ATV quad, boxes of tools, a lawnmower, Christmas goods, kitchen stuff, a washer and dryer and assorted other items.

"When it first got stolen I thought maybe it would be funny one of these days to go to someone's house on medical aid and see your stuff. But chances of that are so remote, and I said, 'Nah, it’d never happen,'" Jones told msnbc.com.

The ATV and other big items weren't at the mobile home, but Jones did notice a case of drill bits and other tools and items that belonged to him. And more of his goods lay outside.

Jones didn’t say anything to the homeowner at the time, but he called police after he left with the other firefighters.

Detectives went to a Vacaville hospital and arrested 47-year-old Ricky Mankini, who was visiting a relative that firefighters had helped that day. The suspect was booked into Solano County Jail on possession of stolen property charges, KCRA reported.

"It’s pretty random and strange that within a week we would go to somebody’s house and my stuff would be there," Jones told msnbc.com. "Out of all houses we go to on a regular basis and all the calls we go to … to have that be a call in my home station’s area and the chances that I was on duty that day -- the whole nature of everything is really out of this world."

Among the big-ticket items still missing are Jones' ATV. What are the chances he'll come upon that in a future emergency call?

"Anything’s possible I guess but it's highly unlikely. I’m sure an ATV quad isn’t something that someone keeps in their living room."

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