Samuel Bond knew he was on the wrong side of the law, and he was sorry.
During a string of fire station and ambulance burglaries in his search for narcotics, the Clark County firefighter and paramedic left a note, according to a police report.
"I took your medicine. I have a bad problem. Please forgive me," the note said.
Bond would commit at least seven more break-ins, Las Vegas police said, before narcotics detectives caught him running from an ambulance at Desert Springs Hospital on Sunday.
The 35-year-old was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on 22 felony counts, including eight counts of burglary, four counts of auto burglary, and two counts of possessing dangerous drugs. Bail was set at $88,000.
Clark County Fire Department officials placed Bond on unpaid administrative leave on Friday, department spokesman Scott Allison said. Before that Bond had been on unauthorized leave, though Allison said he didn't know for how long.
Bond had worked for the department for more than six years, most recently at Station 12 on Industrial Road near Desert Inn Road.
The arrest ended a flurry of burglaries stretching back to at least mid-July. The burglar targeted vials of morphine, Valium, Versed and etomidate stashed on ambulances and in fire houses, police reports said. He also took medical tubing and needles in at least one incident, the reports said.
Morphine is an opium-based painkiller, Versed is a sedative used to relieve anxiety, Valium is another anti-anxiety drug, and etomidate is used for general anesthesia.
The burglaries started in late July when a firefighter said he saw Bond take something from a firetruck compartment. The firefighter later discovered a bag of drugs was missing, according to a report.
The burglaries continued through August and into September, often in bunches.
Three AMR ambulances were targeted during the spree, two of them at Spring Valley Hospital within five days of each other. During the Aug. 20 burglary at the hospital, someone broke into an ambulance and pried open the narcotics cabinet, a report said.
That's when paramedics found the note.
Hospital surveillance cameras captured a man wearing what looked like a white paramedic uniform peering into the ambulances parked at the hospital.
A month later a fire engine narcotics box at the county station near Tropicana Avenue and Boulder Highway was tampered with. Another five fire stations were hit in the next week.
In three of them the burglar slipped in and out undetected. In the Sept. 21 burglary of the Jean station, a medical kit holding drugs was unbolted from a counter and stolen.
After the Sept. 26 burglary of Station 12, firefighter Dan Melhase brought up Bond's name and said he was not allowed on the property since being disciplined a couple months earlier, the report said.
Fire department employees walked in on the burglar during two incidents.
On Sept. 21 a firefighter going to clean his truck saw someone flash across the corner of his eye. He watched the man dive under a truck, wait about 10 seconds and bolt out the back door. Wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a bandana over his face, the burglar vaulted a wall to get to his car and speed away from the station on Dean Martin Drive near Warm Springs Road.
Six days later a firefighter at a station near Nellis Air Force Base heard a noise in the garage about 5 a.m. He checked it out and walked in on the burglar trying to pry open a door with a crowbar.
The burglar, who was wearing a bandana over his face, escaped. But Capt. Lennie Walch told police Bond might be the burglar because he had been terminated two months earlier for drug use, a report said.
By Sunday Las Vegas police had Bond under surveillance. They watched his unsuccessful attempt to break into a fire station near McCarran International Airport, then followed him to Desert Springs Hospital, where he climbed into a Medic West ambulance, a report said.