Looters Target Tornado Victims

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 9:52am

Police step up patrols to protect property of North Carolina storm victims.

Seven Fayetteville, North Carolina homes damaged by a tornado have been broken into.

Police say burglars have gotten away with televisions, tools and jewelry.

Three of the break-ins happened this weekend in the Summerhill subdivision, a neighborhood still covered in debris.

Edward Cain’s home of more than 20 years collapsed when a tornado tore through Fayetteville about a week ago.

Most nights he sleeps in his car in front of his home.

“It’s been hard, you know, sometimes I just start crying,” he said.

Cain salvages what he can during the day. “That’s my life back there. And whatever pieces I have left of it, I want to recover it,” he said.

As he works, people drive by, staring, taking pictures.

“I actually felt like an animal in a zoo, as many pictures as people took of me yesterday,” he said.

Monday afternoon, as he sat in his car eating lunch, a man drove up to Cain’s property, and started looking through the debris.

Cain called police.

“It makes me feel like, you know, people will take advantage of you at your worst moment,” he said.

Just up the street, burglars broke into three homes this weekend, including Ana Kuespert’s.

“I’m a little bit disturbed that it wasn’t secure. I was told that they were securing the place, so I felt comfortable leaving,” she said.

Police have stepped up patrols in the neighborhood.

Police had also given residents identification cards after the tornado. But police have stopped using the cards and no longer have check points there.

That was a temporary measure, police said.

“They’re not being utilized right now. And I don’t see that they’ll be utilized anytime soon,” Sgt. Todd Joyce said.

That upsets Edward Cain.

“I think we’ve been through enough and to have them let people come through here that’s just adding salt to the wound. It’s just making it a whole lot worse on us,” he said.

Police encourage the neighborhood to form a watch program and to call police if anyone sees suspicious activity.

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