The clean-up begins

Published 8:45 am Tuesday, April 19, 2011

COLERAIN – Bertie County Sheriff John Holley is urging caution for those who are cleaning up in the aftermath of two Saturday tornadoes.

The sheriff’s first concerns are with the possibility of looters. He said no confirmed cases have been reported to the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office, but that he had received a few telephone calls.

It is important to err on the side of caution, he stressed.

“If you’re not sure if someone belongs at the address where they are taking items, it is better to call us and let us sort it out,” Sheriff Holley said. “We believe our citizens are doing a good job of working together in this time of disaster, but we want to be mindful of those who would take advantage of this misfortune.

“I want our citizens to feel free to call us if they have suspicions and let us go out and check them out,” he said. “I’d rather us make a determination than have one of our citizens taken advantage of.”

Looting isn’t Sheriff Holley’s only concern, however. He also said he would be careful of those who offered to clean up the debris for a price.

“We have a lot of volunteers in the area who are helping to clean up this disaster,” he said. “If someone wants to charge a citizen for cleanup, I would be very skeptical.”

The sheriff also suggested that those who were having home repairs done in the wake of the disaster to carefully check out anyone offering to perform the work.

“Know the person or company you are having do the work,” he said. “If you don’t know them, then check them out before you enter into a contract and certainly before you give them any money.

“In the past, we have, unfortunately, had some people who took money and did not complete the work they agreed to,” he added. “We want our citizens to be extremely cautious during this time.”

Sheriff Holley added that his staff had been working “around the clock” during the disaster and had been given help from many outside agencies.

“I’m thankful to those who have sent deputies to help us,” he said. “We’ve gotten help from so many places I couldn’t even begin to name them all. Their help and support during this tragedy is much appreciated.”