East Alabama officials work to protect tornado victims from loot - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

East Alabama officials work to protect tornado victims from looters

LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) -

The last thing victims of Tuesday's tornado in East Alabama should be concerned about is losing any of their salvaged belongings to criminals.

Law enforcement is continuing to monitor the affected areas to ensure looters will not be an issue.

It may be hard to imagine people adopting an everyman for himself mentality, especially after a natural disaster. However, looting does happen, and it's something authorities will not tolerate.

"This is a situation where individuals are at an extreme disadvantage, says Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones.  "They've lost home, they've lost possessions, and to have someone come in there, and attempt to take items under these circumstances is really unthinkable."

Since the category F-3 tornado ripped through parts of Lee County early Tuesday morning, April 29, hundreds of people have spent days cleaning up the mess it left behind, and saving anything they can find.

"What we're doing is trying to salvage any belongings we can," says Bobby Warren, a relative of a storm victim. "We're really not trying to clean up as much as salvage as much as we can. Pictures she seems to be very interested in salvaging, her pots and pans, her cookware."

There have been no reports of looting in the affected areas to date.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office, as well as multiple entities, will continue to have a heavy presence day and night in the Salem/Crawford community as cleanup efforts continue.

"Number one, we ensure the safety of individuals as accounting for everyone, but then right after we take care of that, the next thing we do is ensure the area is protected, and that unauthorized persons are kept out and everyone's property and belongings are as safe as we can ensure them being," says Jones.

Anyone interested in volunteering their time can go to the to the Crawford Baptist Church and check in.

In order to stop potential looting, you will get a green arm band.

Jones says, "Unfortunately, there are people who are out there with that mindset. We all know that. We're just going to offer this as a warning: Stay away from the area if you have any ill intent."

Copyright 2014 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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