Residents report looting, burglary in evacuated homes

Multiple residents who live in Blue River and Vida have reported incidents of looting and burglary in abandoned homes.

Posted: Sep 10, 2020 6:29 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- There are multiple comments on the Blue River Bulletin Board Facebook page reporting looting and burglary in homes in the evacuation areas. 

"We've suffered enough these people have suffered enough," Blue River resident Marcie Costa said. "We don't need to be victimized anymore from someone who don't give a stuff about us."

Costa lost her home in the Holiday Farm Fire. Her neighbor's home was still intact but had more than $1,000 of belongings stolen from them, including a generator. 

"We understand that OSP and the Sheriff's Department are doing the best that they can," Costa said. "But they're spread so thin."

In press conference on Thursday, Clifton Harrold of the Lane County Sheriff's Office said the National Guard will arrive in the evening which will allow for more patrolling of law enforcement in the evacuated areas. Harrold says any criminal activity will not be tolerated. 

Phillip Lien had to evacuate his home in Vida early Tuesday morning, leaving his two cats behind. He went to stay with his friend Christy Beaver in Junction City. 

Once Lien was given the go-ahead to return to the home to retrieve his pets, he saw the worst.

"Everything had been rifled through," Beaver said. "Drawers were open. Stuff was all over. Credit cards and checkbooks were missing. We're not sure what else is missing because we haven't been able to go back up there."

The animals were saved, but even the refrigerator and freezer were left open and ransacked. 

"How horrible of people to do something like this," Beaver said. "It's miserable enough when people take advantage of people. But when they're so devastated over this happening, I just don't get it."

The Lane County Sheriff's Office received a report on Wednesday night of a home in an evacuation area that was reportedly burglarized. That case is currently under investigation.

Springfield Police also received calls about similar incidents but they were deemed unfounded as it was the residents or friends of residents helping remove items from homes that were being evacuated. 

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