Thieves strike home of family placed in FEMA trailer
Break-ins aren’t altogether uncommon in Phil Campbell, but reported crimes in the tornado-ravaged town have seemed to slow down while the residents try to pick up the pieces and rebuild, but that wasn’t the case this past week.
According to Phil Campbell Police Chief Merrell Potter, a break-in was reported Tuesday evening at the home of James and Dorothy Orrick, who lost everything in the tornado.
The Orricks had recently settled into a FEMA trailer while arrangements for a permanent home could be made and were out of town visiting relatives when the break-in occurred, Potter said.
“Whoever broke in gained entry by knocking out the glass panel on the door and unlocking it,” Potter said. “They took a large-screen TV from the bedroom and a computer from the living room.”
Potter said this is the first break-in reported in the city since the tornado destroyed 137 homes in the city.
“I just can’t believe someone would do something like that to people who have been through so much,” Potter said. “It’s just terrible.”
Even though break-ins have been nonexistent in Phil Campbell for the past three months, Potter said there have been a few break-ins in the county.
“We’re looking into a break-in that happened near the Franklin-Marion line the night after this incident occurred,” Potter said. “We don’t know if the two are related but we’re working with Marion County to find out.”
Potter said residents should take precautions to make sure their house doesn’t fall prey to thieves.
“The main thing is to make sure the outside of the house is well-lit,” he said. “If there aren’t any street lights nearby, residents should have some form of outdoor lighting in place.
“Also, if you’re going to be away from your home for an extended period of time, the best system is just a basic neighborhood watch. Ask someone you trust to keep an eye on your home while you’re gone.”
Potter said his department has several leads to the break-in at the Orricks’ residence. The case remains under investigation.