Looters Arrested Rooting Around Newalla Disaster Area

Friday, June 14th 2013, 6:56 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Cleveland County Sheriff's deputies arrested two men for looting in the Newalla disaster area.

Deputies say they were stealing from tornado victims. According to witnesses, the looters were going through big piles of debris and looking for scrap metal and copper wire.

Jonathan Muise and Johnny Harris were arrested after the Cleveland County sheriff's office got a call that they were looting this area and found them with a pickup full of scrap metal.

"They arrested him and towed his vehicle off because we're really getting tired of people coming out and looting everywhere," said Crystal Laughlin.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak 

Laughlin witnessed the looting and the arrest. Meghan McCormick with the Cleveland County Sheriff's office says the two men confessed to going through the debris over the past three days.

"Anybody caught taking items that don't belong to them from neighborhoods that were ravaged in the May tornadoes will be arrested and jailed," said Sheriff Joe Lester said. "The residents in these areas are trying to salvage their belongings and rebuild their lives."

Crystal says she's seen looters in the area before. Both of her sons lost their homes in the recent storms. One lives in Moore, the other in Newella and she was happy to see the two men end up in handcuffs.

The two men were booked into the Cleveland County jail for disturbing a disaster area.