Thieves target volunteers helping with clean-up

Thieves target volunteers helping with clean-up after the tornadoes.

Posted: Updated:
NORMAN -

Thieves target volunteers helping with clean-up after the tornadoes.

Volunteers from across the country make up the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team,
A group focused on helping victims of the recent tornadoes

"We've been to several places. Usually just getting some brush piles together, picking up sticks, logs, all the trash cleaning it up off their property," said volunteer Alex Valdes. 

Valdes came from Texas to help with the efforts. He said while people are valuable, it's the tools that make clean-up  go faster.

"We use shovels, rakes, pretty much anything you can think of really." 

But the group's efforts came to a hault Thursday morning after thieves stole nearly 6-thousand dollars in equipment from their trailer parked at a church in Norman. 

"Without those tools it's just hard," Alex said. 

The tools were locked up with cable wiring but the thieves cut the cables in half taking the tools with them.
Volunteer Duane Kemp said the thieves took only the expensive items

"There's 6 pressure washers missing and two power generators 500 watts." 

On limited funding Duane said replacing the tools will be difficult.

"It's going to hurt pretty bad." 

For Duane the loss is not about his organization...it's about the setback in helping storm survivors.

"They're hurting the people that we come to help and to me that's where it all at."

"It's crazy that somebody would do that when we're trying to help people affected by this tornado," Alex added.  He said losing the tools is tough but the Disaster Response Team will continue to do what they can.

"We're going to see what the people need and get out there and help."

All of the equipment stolen was marked with a DRT. If you see the missing tools or have any information contact Norman police at 321-1600.

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