Breaking News
More () »

Firefighter accused of stealing teen's wallet after deadly February crash charged

Arnold Britt is accused of using credit cards from a teenager who survived a deadly crash near Forest Park Avenue and South Grand Boulevard in February.

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis firefighter accused of stealing a crash victim's wallet and using the victim's credit card was charged Thursday.

Arnold Britt, 40, was charged with one count of receiving stolen property and one count of fraudulent use of a credit or debit device by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. 

Police said the department has not received a charging decision from the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office. The crash happened near Saint Louis University in the city of St. Louis, but the purchases using the victim's card were made in St. Louis County.

The above video was published on April 3.

Police said Britt used credit cards from a victim who survived a deadly crash near Forest Park Avenue and South Grand Boulevard in February.

Police used body camera footage and surveillance footage obtained from several locations where the victim’s credit card was used in Chesterfield to identify the firefighter, multiple sources familiar with the police investigation told 5 On Your Side in April.

The victim, 18-year-old Seven Robinson, told 5 On Your Side he had $674 in cash in his wallet and about $200 in gift cards in his wallet because he had just celebrated a birthday and was saving up to buy himself a car.

Robinson learned from 5 On Your Side's Christine Byers that the charges had been filed against the firefighter. He said he was happy to learn criminal charges had been issued, but he said he never got back the roughly $600 in cash and gift cards that was taken from him, and he's been struggling to stay employed since the accident because of his injuries. He declined to be interviewed on camera Thursday, saying he had too much school work to tackle, and he's also a new father.  

Robinson said the credit union is not requiring him to pay for the $120 in charges he did not make. 

Charging documents said twelve days after the crash, Seven Robinson called police to say he thought a police officer took his wallet, which contained about $700 in cash because he had recently celebrated his birthday, and he never got it back.

Police took Robinson's description of the man and reviewed body camera footage of the crash response. 

Police said a man matching that description asked Robinson where his wallet was, removed it from Robinson’s pocket, looked at it and handed Robinson’s identification to an officer.

Robinson said he has seen the body camera footage, too, and couldn’t believe a firefighter would be involved.

“That was crazy to me because it’s like you don’t really hear about firefighters doing stuff like that,” he said. “It was pretty interesting to see because it was like you could literally see him look in the wallet and kind of like close it and put it to the side of his jacket.

“He never gave me my ID back, he gave me like my permit and everything he did was like this is not his first time doing this, it was just like this is what he does.”

On March 12, police detectives went to the firehouse and two battalion chiefs identified the firefighter from still images taken from the police body camera footage, according to charging documents.

Robinson’s mother told police there were three charges made to one of her son’s credit cards on Feb 26 — just two days after the accident including:

Waterway in Chesterfield for $86.79

GRWC Brite Worx in Chesterfield for $22

Alta convenience store in Chesterfield for $12

Detectives pulled surveillance footage from several of those places and saw a truck bearing a license plate that came back to the firefighter in question.

Charging documents said Britt admitted to using the card, but said it was an accident. He said he thought it was his wife's card, because she has one from the same credit union.

Charging documents said he told officers he did not realize he made the mistake until his wife found the card in his center console. He said she threw the card away because she did not recognize the name on the card.

St. Louis police on Thursday said Britt has not been taken into custody. A court date has been set for July 5.

Before You Leave, Check This Out