HARRISON TWP., Montgomery County — A woman checking on her tornado-damaged home Thursday morning said she discovered two looters loading her belongings into a truck.
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Deputies received the call of active looting around 11:30 a.m. at the home in the 2500 block of Oneida Avenue in Harrison Twp.
The home’s occupant, Nicole Lambert, said she was heading to her grandmother’s house to get ready for work when she decided to check on the house that was damaged by the EF4 tornado on Memorial Day.
“When I drove by I saw this truck in the driveway. A woman was loading every single last thing in my home into (the truck),” Lambert told this news outlet. “It was packed to the top.”
Lambert said she confronted the woman, who was loading the truck, and a man who was sitting in the driver’s seat, then called 911 for help.
“I told her ‘this is the last of what me and my daughter have. No one sent you here,’” Lambert said.
Lambert said the woman claimed she was sent there to gather the items in the house for donations to Goodwill.
“I told her ‘put this back or there’s going to be problems.’ And she started unloading the truck. That’s when I called the cops.”
Deputies arrived on the scene and arrested both the man and the woman, Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck said. Both will face likely charges of breaking and entering and one also will also face a drug possession charge.
“We’ve warned people (about looting.) I still have numerous extra patrols out especially in affected areas,” Streck said.
“People have been warned. There is zero tolerance,” Streck said.
The two people arrested were identified on sheriff’s offices call logs as Joshua D. Chapman, 27, and Cynthia R. Gross, 49, who were both booked into the Montgomery County Jail awaiting formal charges.
Lambert went inside her home after deputies arrived and found the inside of the damaged home was ransacked.
“It looks like someone robbed my home. Some of the things stolen were Christmas presents I bought my daughter back in December.”
“(The looters) found things that I didn’t even find,” Lambert said.
Lambert praised deputies, saying they responded quickly to the call and she noted that several other items in the truck were not her belongings.
“If you have a home and its destroyed and you can’t be there, I would definitely be checking on it, because I didn’t think this would happen. There’s been so many people at this address helping me, (my neighbors) don’t know who is who anymore.”
“Just keep an eye on your home,” Lambert said.