Out-of-state looters targeting Okla. storm victims
MOORE, Okla. – Several people have been arrested and charged after coming to Oklahoma to take advantage of storm victims.
In some cases, the suspects are admitting to police they came here steal.
Debbie Roghair, a volunteer from Iowa, said, “I think Oklahoma would come to where we are if this happened to us.”
It’s the kindness of this state that has brought groups like Debbie’s from Iowa and Minnesota here to help.
Sadly there have been other out-of-state groups coming here to benefit themselves.
Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said, “It’s sad but it’s almost expected.”
Police have arrested and charged people in both Cleveland and Pottowatomie counties for looting.
According to the court affidavit in Cleveland County, one suspect, Justin Wagner, admitted to coming from Virginia to take steel and copper wire from the disaster area.
In Pottowatomie County, Jeremiah Cook and two others were arrested.
Cook told police he was from California and was in the area scrapping metal.
Cook told police he had permission from one man to take the metal, though police later learned that was not true.
Authorities in the devastated areas said with so many legitimate volunteers, looters are hard to spot so they rely on residents to report any suspicious people.
Lewis said, “It really helps if the homeowner knows their neighbor isn’t home and someone is over there, if they’ll call and let us know so we can find out what they are doing.”
It’s a problem volunteers who have come to help storm victims say is unfortunate.
Roghair said, “It’s really sad because they lost everything and you have to come across country to make their life miserable when it’s already been miserable.”
Police said if you do notice something suspicious please call and report the problem so they can check it out and stop anyone who is not authorized to be in the disaster areas.