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Phoney Fire Inspector Nabbed in Philly

Using Access to Steal Electronic Items

A PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, MAN was arrested last Thursday and charged with impersonating a fire officer and stealing several thousands of dollars worth of various electronics equipment.

Christopher Kieter, 26, was taken into custody following service of a search warrant in his house where most of the stolen goods were found.  On at least three occasions this month he had gone into public buildings wearing PFD clothing and carrying a radio.  Using fake ID's that had his real name on them, he would enter the building and identify himself as being a fire inspector, then move about the premises surreptitiously picking up various valuable items.

WCAU-TV reported:

Investigators say on January 3 at 11 p.m., (he) entered the Academy of Music located at 240 South Broad Street wearing a Philadelphia Fire department shirt and carrying a handled radio. Police say he asked a security guard if he could inspect the fire extinguishers in the building. At some point during this inspection Kieter was able to sneak into the theater and steal a computer, a pair of head phones, and a radio that had "Les Mis" written on the front of it.

In another alleged incident the next evening at 7:20 p.m., police say Kieter entered the Independence Visitor Center at 1 North Independence Mall West and told members of the housekeeping department he was there to inspect the fire extinguishers. Kieter allegedly stole a handheld radio valued at $2,500. A wireless microphone, valued at $639, was also missing.

On January 8 at 1:30 p. m., Kieter allegedly entered the Art Institute of Philadelphia located at 1622 Chestnut Street. Police say he acted like he was inspecting fire extinguishers pulling at least 20 tags off some extinguishers and stating to the building manager that he needed them replaced or he would receive a fine. Kieter then went to an equipment cage on the 6th floor and told everyone had to leave because he was going to spray some fumes in the air, according to investigators.

While there he stole two laptop computers.

Kieter has been charged with three counts of theft, criminal trespass, and impersonating.  Police say that their investigation is continuing.  Kieter already has a lengthy criminal record for burglary and previous impesonations in several nearby counties, but has been allowed to roam free anyway.

WTXF-TV has MORE.

Hat tip:  Ron Y.

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