MOORE, Okla.---The Moore Police Department said it arrested two men from the area on June 2 for looting from a disaster area.
Steven Daniels from Harrisonburg and Justin Wagner from McGaheysville face misdemeanor charges for allegedly stealing utility wires in the aftermath of a tornado, according to Moore Police.
A Moore Police officer said people usually steal wires for the copper inside.
Harrisonburg Police Department Investigator Mike Spiggle said this is not shocking.
"I was surprised from hearing from hearing from someone in this area traveling all the way. But anytime there is a natural disaster there are going to be people trying to take advantage of the situation and trying to make money on their own," said Spiggle.
Daniels said he was in Oklahoma to buy scrap metal and volunteer.
He said that they contacted the city to ask what was needed to remove the debris.
He said when they got in town, he saw the devastation. That's when Daniels said his cell phone was lost or stolen.
"They've had issues with people looting down there and that's why they were on the lookout for people looting," said Daniels. ""That wasn't the situation it was a misunderstanding."
However, he said he was charged with trespassing.
Spiggle said people flock to disaster areas especially when there is no one around.
"They probably knew the houses were going to be abandoned it. That the resources as far as the law enforcement and national guard are going to be spread out throughout the area. They were trying to take advantage of the situation," said Spiggle.
Daniels said he was just trying to do business and help.
"Who in their right mind will travel 1,200 miles to steal," said Daniels.
He is the owner of Absolute Recycling and Recovery. The business website lists 155 E. Market street in Broadway as its location. However, WHSV searched confirmed with town government, the address did not exist. When a reporter contacted the company, an employee said the company was located in Roanoke but said he could release an address. Roanoke City said this company did not operate out of Roanoke.
Daniels said the company has a storage facility in Broadway but he does not feel comfortable releasing the address.
Spiggle said copper is good business, especially if you do not have to pay for it.
"If copper is about $3 for number one grade or around that, we will tend to see an increase on the thefts either from construction sites to abandoned residences," said Spiggle.
Daniels and Wagner posted a $10,000 bail and were released from jail on June 3.
According to Spiggle, copper thefts vary in the city of Harrisonburg from year to year.