A 30-year-old Denver man was arrested June 17 for allegedly trying to impersonate a firefighter at the High Park fire.
It may not have been his first time.
Deputies are investigating Michael Maher for similar allegations during the Lower North Fork fire outside Denver back in March. Then, he reportedly stole $2,400 worth of equipment issued to firefighters. Jefferson County investigators say they found the gear during a search of Maher's home.
More recently, the Larimer County Sheriff's Office says Maher was arrested in the wee hours of June 17 at a bar in Laporte. Deputies tracked Maher to Laporte after first spotting his vehicle near the High Park fire area, sporting stolen government plates.
LCSO says a fire chief spoke to Maher on the night of June 16 while he was still hanging around the fire area, and believed that Maher was carrying phony firefighter credentials. Patrols attempted to catch him as he left the area on County Road 52E, but were unable to locate him.
After apprehending Maher at the bar, deputies searched his vehicle and say stolen items and a firearm were found inside. While the vehicle itself was registered to Maher, the Sheriff's Office says the government license plate was stolen from the Glenwood Springs area.
According to court records, Maher claims the government plate was given to him from a friend. He also reportedly told investigators that he received his identification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he claims to have once worked.
Maher has been charged with obstructing fire/police, impersonating fire/police, theft, and attempt to influence public servant. The latter two charges are both felonies.
Maher is currently out of jail on a $15,000 bond.