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Looters take advantage of hurricane evacuation

Multiple Glynn County homes looted

GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. – As residents made their way back onto St. Simons Island on Tuesday, many of them didn't know what they would be returning to.

Trees and power lines were knocked down from Hurricane Matthew.  Flooding forced a boil water advisory that was lifted Tuesday morning, and, according to officials, there was also a major increase in burglaries from looters.

Not only was the long wait to return frustrating, some residents came home to find they were victims of looting.

“It kind of reminds me of back when I was a police officer in Chicago,” resident Bob Natzke said. “We had a lot of looting; people taking advantage of things like this.”

“I’m not surprised,” resident Bob Forehand said. “We don't have a lot of crime on the island. The biggest crime I ever hear about is theft of bikes. But obviously some people stayed over there, and the police have better things to do than patrol for that.”

According to county officials, despite a curfew from midnight until 5 a.m., there were more than 30 burglaries since early Saturday morning following Hurricane Matthew.

“Lowest form of life,” Forehand said. “I wish they would lock them up forever. Absolutely, I'd be disgusted.”
“Those are the type of people they are,” Natzke said. “They do stuff like that, they loot and take advantage of people that are at the mercy (of the storm), but it's a good thing we have good law enforcement.”

News4Jax has requested information from the Glynn County Police Department about the burglaries, where they happened and what was taken.

Looters hit Jacksonville Beach

The looting hasn't been unique to Glynn County. In Jacksonville Beach, Cody Wheaton had his home broken into and about $10,000 worth of guitars and other items stolen.

“I feel violated in a lot of ways,” Weaton said. “I had family photos and birthday cards just covered in water that were ruined. I had things around my room like this gator that was made by my grandfather who passed away. There’s a jaguar he made. There were other ones that were ruined from the water and paint.”

Weaton plays in The Cris Thomas Band, a Jacksonville Beach-based group, and said all but the equipment he normally uses in performances was stolen.

Along with musical equipment, Weaton’s Xbox, television and video games were stolen.

Water damage was widespread from where the looters had broken a window to gain access. Weaton said much of his clothes and bed were ruined by the water.

His friends have set up a GoFundMe account to help replace his belongings.