BUCKEYE (3TV/CBS 5) - Courts documents for the Buckeye firefighter arrested on felony charges of criminal damage and weapons violations show a family member was the one who turned him in.
Frank R. Zepeda, a 12-year veteran firefighter, was arrested in Glendale Thursday morning, according to the Buckeye Police Department.
Buckeye police responded to a Buckeye fire station near Rooks and Broadway roads on April 29, 2018, after an on-duty firefighter reported that equipment had been stolen from a parked fire truck. Among the stolen items were drugs, IV boxes and ballistic vests.
Police said earlier this month Buckeye detectives received information implicating Zepeda of orchestrating the burglary, which was carried out by members of a motorcycle club Zepeda is involved in.
Police said during the investigation Buckeye PD received information that Zepeda was involved in a shooting in March 2018 near 63rd Avenue and Bell Road in Glendale. Glendale PD confirmed they received a report of a car riddled with bullets.
It's that incident for which Zepeda was in court early Friday morning.
No one was struck. All information gathered by Buckeye investigators was turned over to Glendale police.
According to court documents, a family member told police that they saw Zepeda and a friend "putting on gloves and face masks" after Zepeda got his pistol from his gun locker and attached a silencer.
The witness said the two were gone for a short time and when Zepeda returned, "he told the witness that he shot up the [victim's] car. He was laughing when he said this."
Police said the witness gave them video they took of the Cadillac Zepeda claimed to have shot up.
When detectives talked to Zepeda about what the witness told them, he said his family member was "trying to get him in trouble."
Buckeye police served search warrants at multiple locations, including Zepeda’s Glendale home. Cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia were among items seized.
Police also located the gun and silencer described by their witness.
According to Glendale Police Department, Zepeda was arrested on one count of criminal damage over $3,000, one count of unlawful discharge of a firearm within city limits, and one count of shooting at an unoccupied structure in reference to crimes committed within their jurisdiction.
Buckeye PD said Zepeda was booked into the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail on the weapons charges out of Glendale.
A commissioner set a secured appearance bond of $10,000 on those charges.
Additional charges related to the burglary are anticipated.
Buckeye PD said because of the seriousness of the criminal allegations and additional concerns, which developed during the course of the investigations, Buckeye Fire Chief Bob Costello immediately began termination proceedings of Zepeda.
“The Buckeye Fire Department remains committed to providing the very highest level of service to the community and will work tirelessly to continue to provide transparency to the City of Buckeye residents,” Chief Costello said in a statement.
Police said the investigations by Buckeye and Glendale authorities into Zepeda’s alleged criminal actions continue.