DCP arrest 2 men for trespassing in storm damaged neighborhood

DCP arrest 2 men for trespassing in storm damaged neighborhood
Lt. Dan McMullen (Source: WALB)
Lt. Dan McMullen (Source: WALB)

DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - Thieves are still at it.

Months after January's storms, and crooks are still targeting storm affected homes,stealing metal and other materials from the homes.

But police said even if those homes are completely uninhabitable, it's still not your property, and you will be charged.

"It's real bad.  But we're going to survive," said homeowner Billy Kelly.

Kelly has lived at his home on Camellia for almost 17 years now.

But now, his neighborhood looks a lot different.

"It's a sore sight.  It sure is," he said.

But the downed trees and debris aren't the only things that trouble him.

It's the crooks stealing and trespassing onto damaged property.

"Across the street, all those houses have been broken into," said Kelly.

It's a problem that hasn't really gotten any better since the January tornadoes.

"Right after the tornadoes they were doing it," said Dougherty County Police Lieutenant Dan McMullen.  "They would just go in there, and there were so many areas affected, so many house, that we were working 24/7.  We were working seven days a week. There was no off time for us for two months."

On Wednesday,  Dougherty County Police responded to a call from a concerned homeowner on Azalea Drive.

The homeowner said there were two suspicious people trespassing in the storm affected area.

The caller got the tag number of their car.

"And in the process of doing that, they loaded up in the car and left," he said. "The officer arrived in a timely manner and was able to conduct a traffic stop on them. In the backseat of the car, it was completely loaded down with metal."

Lt. McMullen said the metal was from downed spouts and gutters from the damaged home.

Police arrested James Woods and James Williams, charging them with criminal damage to property in the second degree.

"In the state of Georgia, if it's not your property, you better have permission. It's as simple as that," he said.

Police remind homeowners to look out for your neighbors, especially in these storm affected neighborhoods.

And on top of looking out for his neighbors, Kelly has installed security systems and motion detectors to remain extra vigilant.

"If they do, I'm prepared.  So I hope they don't!" he said.

Police encourage you to call 911 if you see someone acting suspiciously around these storm affected areas.

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