Thieves stealing from flood victims - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thieves stealing from flood victims

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September 20, 2002

Donalsonville - It's a shame, but it happens often during natural disasters. Thieves and scam artist preying on those who are in need. In Donalsonville, police are looking out for criminals who are trying to make money off flood victims. The issue is being taken seriously.

The Disaster Assistance Center now has a Donalsonville Police officer on duty at all times. Police Chief Darren Godwin explains, "What we've noticed is as soon as we put someone in there, we haven't had any more problems."

Police have had a few reports of people giving false information on assistance applications to get free stuff. GEMA Spokesperson Jennifer Collins says, "If you were not flooded, not a victim, you should not be coming and asking for things because you're hurting the people who really need it."

Another problem is starting in flooded homes. Building Contractors and clean up crews, not licensed with the city. Chief Godwin says, "So, if you're in town doing any kind of work you're probably gonna be stopped by and officer and asked to see a business license. If you don't have one, get one or you'll get a city citation and come to city court to pay a fee."

But that's not it, police are also trying to stop crime at the curb. Garbage thieves are picking up contaminated furniture. Chief Godwin says, "We're not allowing anybody to pick up anything on the side of the road. Just because it's there doesn't mean it's there for free use."

They are also worried about health issues. The thieves could spread the contamination to another area.

Seminole County Commissioners have made proposals to choose a trash clean up crew. They hope to make a bid by Monday and start cleaning up on Tuesday.

posted at 6:07PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com