Tornado damaged property protection concerns

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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - There is a concern of looting and unwanted people taking things from the damaged homes of tornado victims in northern Lauderdale County.

According to Red Cross officials some of those who lost their home are choosing to sleep in their cars instead of a shelter. The reason? To protect their property from potential looters looking to make a buck. The Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department says this happens in times of a disaster.

"With the mass destruction of homes or businesses, it lends itself to the opportunity for people to take advantage of people to steal items from them," Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun says.

Cedrick Silliman’s home is no longer on his property. It's wrapped around several pine trees several yards from where it once stood.

"It’s kind of hard to know what your next step will be when you have nothing to go from," Sillimans says.

"I would encourage them to contact us and if there's something specific we can help with, we will," Calhoun says.

Others continue to rummage through their belongings, but say they aren't worried enough to stay on their property to protect it and with cooler temperatures, they aren't.

"You always have that small group that will take advantage of a tragic situation to better themselves," Calhoun says.

"Everyone is very confident that we will rebuild as a community. As friends and family, we must stand strong together and come together and help each other. It’s turn out for the better," Silliman says.

The Red Cross number to call is 601-701-5151. The shelter is located at Greater Outreach Missionary Baptist.