Oklahoma Tornado Looters: Moore Police Arrest 17 For Stealing From Damaged Homes
Tornado looters are plaguing Oklahoma, almost a month after a massive twister struck the town of Moore.
Police have arrested 17 tornado looters, who have been accused of stealing whatever they can get their hands on.
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"We are seeing people take everything from copper to pipes to scrap metal to all kinds of electronics," said Moore police spokesman Jeremy Lewis. "It's a misdemeanor crime and not a crime we usually have to deal with."
Of the 17 arrested tornado looters, three men from as far away as Virginia were caught stealing copper wire and scrap metal. One arrested tornado looter listed his address as being in New York.
According to an affidavit filed in Cleveland County District Court, one of the Virginia men, Steven Corky Daniels, "advised he drove from Virginia to Moore...with two other subjects for the purpose of removing steel and copper utility wire from the disaster area."
Jon Fisher, a man whose home was destroyed in the May 20 tornado, lived in the neighborhood where looters have struck.
"The houses are still standing and looters are kicking in doors and taking TVs and appliances," Fisher said. "They arrested two guys in my neighborhood the night of the tornado who were carrying out a love seat and couch."
Fisher said that his insurance company told him to immediately remove any valuable objects from his home.
Police dealt with looters after the 1999 Moore tornado as well, and learned how to best deal in the aftermath of similar devastation. After May's tornado, police set up checkpoints around the affected areas and checked IDs.
Moore City Manager Steve Eddy said that much of the information circulating on Twitter and Facebook regarding the looting was overblown or untrue. One rumor, that police were ordered to shoot tornado looters on sight, was obviously not true.
"We learned from the first tornado, and we have officers in that area 24/7," Eddy said. "We have no tolerance for it. We're not going to shoot them on sight or anything, but we will arrest anyone suspected of it."
On May 20, a tornado with peak winds of roughly 210 miles per hour struck Moore and the surrounding area, killing 24 people and injuring 377. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said that some 1,150 homes were destroyed, with a total damage of an estimated $2 billion.
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