Survivors, police patrolling property for looters
MOORE, Okla. – The number of looters in Moore continues to climb as cleanup efforts continue.
Since the May 20 tornado, police have arrested 14 people for looting.
People keep filing police reports about their stolen belongings.
They have no way to protect what valuables they have left unless they stay out in the rubble day and night.
That’s exactly what one man, Stephen Hall, is doing.
He takes looting so personally, he has his shotgun ready.
“Just for the simple fact that I consider looters the lowest of the low at this point,” he said. “These people have lost everything, you know? I’ve lost most of my stuff.”
The tornado flattened his neighborhood.
His home is severely damaged; he has no air conditioner, no hot water and still he won’t leave.
“I don’t feel right leaving my stuff here alone,” he said.
Especially after Hall said three teenagers tried to break into his garage.
Police are catching looters in the act, with jewelry, electronics and copper.
“We had people come down from New York dressed as workers,” Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said. “All they were taking were copper wiring, utility wiring.”
Since Moore is considered a disaster area, police said it is against the law for anyone to take anything out there, whether that be a radio, something as small as a lightbulb or scrap metal.
In less than one hour, we saw officers question three people picking up metal Wednesday.
In each case, the people said they had homeowners’ permission to take the scrap.
However, police said the only thing volunteers can do is pile scrap metal in the front yard because anything else can hurt victims when it comes to insurance.
“Some people are saying this is just scrap metal but the reality is that’s valuable to someone,” Sgt. Lewis said.
The men police questioned Wednesday were not arrested but officers filed a report and made them dump the metal back on the street.
Back at Hall’s home, he’s still on the lookout for looters.
“If they want to be stupid enough to go into my house, they got to get past me, my dog and my weapon,” he said.
Police said if you see someone taking property from the disaster zone, call immediately.