Looters descend as fires empty Beavercreek homes

Wildfires

While the Johnsons were evacuated, their Nest cam caught looters at their home

BEAVERCREEK, Ore. (KOIN) — Homeowners have suffered huge losses as wildfires ravage Clackamas County but not all the damage is caused by flames.

As towns emptied out, looters moved in.

Irv Wettlaufer told KOIN 6 News his farm in Beavercreek has been in his family since 1906. Faced with impending evacuation as the Unger Fire drew near, Irv dug lines all around his property and moved his 60 head of cattle to a green field. He said the fire came within 100 yards of his home and is only standing because his neighbor, Randy Booky, stayed behind to fight it.

Tracy and Marvin Johnson live on the other side of the field. The fire burned their green house, the side of their shed and a nearly two-mile hiking trail they spent eight years and thousands of hours building.

“We just finished it, the last of it, and had our grand opening last weekend,” said Marvin. “It’s pretty sad.”

The fire came within feet of their home but firefighters managed to save it. But while they were evacuated, someone broke into their home.

“Our Nest cam came on and told us that there was movement and we could see the lights pull up into our driveway,” said Marvin. “We saw the door open and could hear people inside the house talking.”

The Johnsons don’t think the looters took much but they were gone before police arrived. Despite the break-in, the Johnsons said they’re grateful just to have a home to come back to.

Sheriff’s Office issues statistics

Around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office released statistics of crime in the evacuated zones over a 7-day period. Here is their information:

Between Sept. 8, 2020 and Tuesday morning, Sept. 15, the Sheriff’s Office made:

13 arrests in Level 2 and Level 3 evacuation zones, with some suspects booked on multiple charges including:

  • Criminal Trespass
  • Burglary II
  • Possession of Burglary Tools/Theft Device
  • Recklessly Endangering
  • Theft I
  • Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
  • Felon in Possession of a Restricted Weapon
  • Attempt to Elude a Police Officer
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Interfering with a Peace Officer
  • 4 warrant arrests

Thirty-five criminal reports have been taken in Level 2 and Level 3 evacuation zones, and there have been 470 self-initiated activity calls in Level 2 and Level 3 evacuation zones, including:

  • 76 subject stops
  • 72 premise checks
  • 166 traffic stops
  • 156 suspicious vehicle stops

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating and following up on all criminal complaints. We continue to encourage people to send reports to us of criminal activity. Anyone directly witnessing criminal activity in progress should contact to the Sheriff’s Office by calling 911 (IMPORTANT: FOR EMERGENCIES ONLY) and the Sheriff’s Non-Emergency Line at 503-655-8211 to report crimes not in progress. Tips on suspected criminal activity can also be submitted to the Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at 503-723-4949 or https://www.clackamas.us/sheriff/tip .

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