State News

Fayetteville police urge vigilance to stop looting

Posted April 25, 2011

— Fayetteville residents whose homes sustained heavy tornado damage have been urged to remove all valuables after at least three homes on one storm-ravaged street were looted over the weekend.

Thieves took tools, electronics, jewelry and other items late Saturday from homes on Bromley Drive in the Summerhill East neighborhood, which was among the areas hit hardest by an April 16 tornado that cut through Cumberland County.

"It's devastation after devastation for people," said Nicole Foley, who owns a couple of homes on the street, including one that was vandalized. "Somebody takes advantage. (It's) people without any heart."

Gabriel Delagarza had gone to Florida to take a break after the storm, but he cut his vacation short after getting a phone call Sunday.

"Happy Easter. By the way, the house you're living in got vandalized," Delagarza recalled hearing on the phone.

"They pretty much stole everything they could get their hands on," he said after looking through the house Monday. "They take advantage of you at your lowest moment."

Fayetteville police have responded to seven cases of looting in storm-damaged areas. The other four incidents occurred on Northampton Road, Summer Hill Road, Dornoch Drive and Hawfield Drive. Another break-in was reported on the north side of Fayetteville that police said also appears to be storm-related.

Although police said officers would continue to be visible in the damaged neighborhoods, they have closed a command center that was set up on nearby Yadkin Road after the storms. Also, a 9 p.m. to 6 p.m. curfew that has been in place for a week expired Monday.

Thieves target Fayetteville homes hit by tornado Thieves target Fayetteville homes hit by tornado

Sgt. Todd Joyce said it's nearly impossible to prevent all looting in storm-struck neighborhoods, especially at night.

"It's a crime of opportunity. They may be in and out after we've already ridden through an area. So, we'll do the best we can to stay highly visible," Jones said.

Some residents asked police to keep up added patrols to help curb looting.

"They don’t need to be winding down because it’s gonna take months (to recover)," Foley said.

Landlord John Kuespert said he thinks the Fayetteville Police Department should have requested assistance from the National Guard.

"They've done an incredible job, but I think it's become too much for them," Kuespert said of local officers.

Kenny Currie, Cumberland County’s emergency management director, said the city had security covered and noted that local officials can tap the National Guard only when all local resources are exhausted.

If events warrant, the city can impose another curfew and further enhance police presence, Joyce said. Until then, police recommended that residents form community watch groups to report all suspicious activity.

80 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • tceawvzwvpev Apr 26, 5:54 p.m.

    Hey, if we just chopped off the hand the steals, or implemented an eye-for-an-eye justice would could be as peaceful as, oh say, The Middle East - that poster-child of peace.

    Doesn't anyone get it? Violence is not the answer. It only produces more violence. Not sometimes: every time.

    The problem is deeper: When a nation values property above people than people will value property more than people.

    In other words, people that will shoot "inconsequential" people over a stereo will gladly steal a stereo from what they consider to be "inconsequential" people. It's a cycle, a mind-set, a "value", of a nation that puts dollars and profits over people.

    Corporations do it to thousands and thousands every day (how many die after being denied proper medical care because it cuts into profits). I guess some things do trickle down: greed.

  • ecualumni1982 Apr 26, 5:00 p.m.

    Only if we had a department specifically trained, equiped, and have the legal authority to arrest looters! We could get them special cars, logos, guns, uniforms, and the authority to enforce the laws of the land. Wow, its like re-remembering something that once existed. Sgt. Todd Joyce saying that the Police can't possibly arrest looters in multiple areas at night is ridicolous. The Police have night vision, police spot lights, lazer sights, LED lights,satellite mapping and tracking, helicopters, yet all overcome by the looters wearing hoodies and nikes. Maybe if the police got out of the cars once in a while they would see the looters, they are the ones with all the stuff in thier hands at 2 in the morning, yes those guys!

  • Bob3425 Apr 26, 3:27 p.m.

    kidsrn - I don't think it harsh. Shooting looter is alright with me, it not like the police are going to do anything. Police are an after the fact, so it nice to have only one set of facts.

  • JayL Apr 26, 2:00 p.m.

    Proudofmysoldier, I did not say you said FEMA was giving out food stamps. bareftndncin said, "WRAL specifically said (and the woman also specifically said) that it was FEMA that was going to reimburse them (even though they weren't even hit by the tornado." I read your post and in it you said, "I for one lost everything in my fridge and was told we would not be able to get anything from FEMA just from my homeowners insurance. So not sure what these others did to get help from FEMA and that is not right." I was just telling you and bareftndncin that DSS in fayetteville were the ones giving out the food cards to replace food lost and maybe you guys could try DSS in your areas to get help with that.

  • Mustange Apr 26, 12:30 p.m.

    GOOD OLE USA vs JAPAN TO LOOT OR NOT TO LOOT THAT IS THE QUESTION USA CHOOSES TO LOOT EVERY CHANCE THEY GET

  • shortcake53 Apr 25, 6:39 p.m.

    Along the same line, there are scammers out there ready to take your money and run. We had a man saying he would cut up fallen trees, took some neighbors deposit money and hasnt been seen since, but the checks were cashed within an hour of being written. He is just as much a thief as the looters.

  • wildcat Apr 25, 5:23 p.m.

    WHY DON'T THE POLICE ARREST THESE LOOTERS?

  • ProudOfMySoldier Apr 25, 5:09 p.m.

    JayL, I never said that FEMA was giving out food stamps. If you read my comment it said that FEMA is not for that and if people are saying that is where they got money for only food they lost then something is not right. I said FEMA does not do that and that post was doing stuff for military families that lost a lot and also just lost food. Also that Homeowners and Renters Insurance will give money for food lost

  • wildcat Apr 25, 5:05 p.m.

    JAPAN COULD REALLY SET A GOOD EXAMPLE FOR THE UNITED STATES. THEY HAD HOMES ETC. DESTROYED, BUT NO ONE TOOK ANYTHING THAT DID NOT BELONG TO THEM. THANKS JAPAN FOR A FINE LESSON. MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU AFTER THIS TRAGEDY.

  • wildcat Apr 25, 4:52 p.m.

    To those that are stealing from these home that was destroyed because of the storm, if caught they should spend some time in jail and have to pay the owners for what they took.

More...