‘We noticed a pattern’: Firefighter sets blazes to lure his colleagues out while he robs them, cops say

A former firefighter in Arizona is facing multiple charges including arson and theft in connection with what police say was a pattern of criminal behavior by the 11-year veteran.

According to Fox News, Phoenix police arrested 36-year-old Ryan Donahue on Friday on suspicion of robbing fellow firefighters while they were out of their stations on emergency calls.

Authorities believe Donahue set fires prior to at least some of the burglaries to ensure his victims would be away. He was reportedly off duty at the time of each of the incidents.

Crew members allegedly targeted by his scheme reported money missing from sources including their wallets and mutual pools of cash used to pay for food.

As the Arizona Republic reported, the suspect has been connected to thefts at eight fire stations around Phoenix.

The Phoenix Fire Department has been working with local law enforcement since recognizing the troubling trend.

“We had noticed a pattern,” said Larry Subervi, the department’s captain. “When there is a theft, that gets reported through the battalion chief, so we work closely with Phoenix PD on this.”

Phoenix Police Sgt. Alan Pfohl said officers saw Donahue taking cash from one local fire station and followed him to a parking lot at another location, where they arrested him.

In addition to the thefts, he is accused of setting at least two dumpster fires in an apparent attempt to distract other firefighters.

Police say he confessed to setting the fires and stealing cash from eight fire stations. He is expected to face eight counts of theft, two counts of arson, one count of burglary and one count of criminal damage.

The breach has caused Phoenix firefighters to reconsider security, Subervi explained.

“Since we have noticed this pattern, we have made sure that all of our bay doors are locked,” he said. “We have been securing our stations differently than we have in the past.”

[Featured image: Ryan Donahue/Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office]