Multiple Looters Busted Near El Reno

Wednesday, June 12th 2013, 5:39 pm
By: News 9

The Canadian County Sheriff's office arrested six people over a period of three days for looting in the El Reno area.

The first arrests came on June 3, just three days after the tornado struck. A Canadian County sheriff's deputy patrolling the area noticed a white truck with a flatbed attached near Tiffany Ln. south of Jensen Rd. The license plate was covered up and the truck and trailer were loaded down with storm debris.

The deputy stopped the truck and questioned the driver, identified as 41-year-old Jerry Willingham of El Reno. Willingham told the deputy that his tag was expired and asked if he could "cut him a break". The deputy determined that the truck was in fact stolen and placed Willingham under arrest for the stolen vehicle and possession of stolen property.

Also arrested at the scene was 42-year-old Randy Orr of Shawnee. Orr was arrested on outstanding warrants. Both men were taken to the Canadian County Jail.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

"Deputy Renee Kendrick is one of approximately two dozen deputies assigned to a special roving patrol to secure the devastated areas from looters," said Canadian County Sheriff Randall Edwards.

"I intend on securing the storm victims properties until they have had plenty of time to retrieve any valuables they may have left. I am not going to tolerate looting in any shape form or fashion. These people have already been through enough."

On June 4, two other deputies patrolling the area came across a couple loading golf clubs and other valuables into a gray pickup, also with a trailer attached. The couple, identified as Michael Holt, 42, and Sherry Cooley, 47, both from Ardmore, Okla., told the deputies "They were just trying to make some money".

Both Cooley and Holt were placed under arrest and taken to the Canadian County Jail on the charge of Removing Object from the Area of a Disaster. Their bond was set at $2,000.

Three more looters were arrested on June 5, also near the area of Jensen Rd. and Tiffany Ln. Deputies discovered a white pickup loaded down with valuable lost in the storm. Upon investigating deputies learned that the truck too had also been stolen.

Deputies arrested two men, 42-year-old James Scarce and 23-year-old Arland Brown Jr., and one woman, 24-year-old Heather Hulan, at the scene. All three suspects were transported to the Canadian County jail for the charges of looting and unauthorized use of a vehicle.

"We are going to continue protecting our storm victims and prosecuting those who prey on them to the maximum penalty of the law," said Edwards.