Afraid of losing few remaining possessions to looters, Ohio tornado victims camp out in ruined homes

Posted at 8:47 AM, May 29, 2019

NORTHRIDGE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — After a full day of assessing the damage left in the wake of at least eight separate overnight tornadoes, many Dayton-area households on Tuesday night began to sway toward a new fear: Looting.

“I’m just afraid somebody’s going to think they need my stuff more than I do,” Scott Curtis said Tuesday evening. “I’m not going nowhere.”

Many of the windows in Curtis’s new home, purchased just six months ago, exploded into a glittering rain of glass as a tornado passed through Monday night. The yard is littered with slumping trees, plastic bottles and plywood.

He’ll sleep there anyway to protect what’s left, he said.

Nicole Adkins, executive director of the Dayton-based With God’s Grace mobile food pantry, said she had returned the previous night to find groups of people already inside her battered home. The food pantry fared no better.

“The homeless just started carrying out food, and it's just — everybody's hungry, and the homeless didn't know what to do because we're always there,” she said.

By Tuesday evening, she and her husband were taking turns sitting outside their home beside a gun and a stack of blue cans.

"All the neighbors are loaded,” she said. “They have guns, so if they're going to come and try to rob, everybody is carrying some kind of weapon right now."