Thieves target tornado victims who are rebuilding their homes

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MOORE, Okla. - Targeting construction sites is nothing new for thieves but police say with so many homes being rebuilt in Moore, criminals are coming out of the woodwork.

Michael Methvin, with Paul Methvin Homes, Inc., has seen his share of thefts from construction sites, but says it makes him sick to see criminals taking things from tornado victims.

He said, "To steal from anybody is horrible but also to steal from somebody that’s already been through a lot is just, I mean it’s really just a slap in the face."

Methvin is working hard to give victims back their homes.

At the same time, Moore police are trying to keep thieves away.

Sgt. Jeremy Lewis, with the Moore Police Department, said "We have people who will tear walls out for a little bit of copper wire, which does more damage than even the copper is worth. Air conditioners, any appliances. We’ve had houses completely gutted, all the appliances taken out of the house."

Some of the areas still don't have street lights, so officers are patrolling neighborhoods that could become prime targets.

Lewis also says it's important to secure your property as best you can.

He suggests never leaving anything laying around and asks residents to report anyone suspicious in their neighborhood.

Many contractors also found ways to make their tools less desirable to thieves.

Methvin said, “My trim carpenter actually gets like orange and pink spray paint. And he spray paints his saws and his expensive tools like, almost like it was throwing it in a tie-dye machine.”

Methvin hopes authorities catch up with the criminals soon, so tornado victims can finally have their new start.

He said “It’s horrible, absolutely horrible. You know, these people have been through enough and suffered so much loss. And I mean, honestly, I can’t stand a thief, period.”