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Breathitt County Sheriff gets nearly 20 calls of looters, FEMA warns about scams

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Posted at 6:27 PM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 18:35:24-04

BREATHITT COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Breathitt County residents are continuing to recover from last week’s deadly floods. Now, as the water recedes on homes, Breathitt County Sheriff John Hollan has gotten nearly 20 calls about looters and thieves over the last two days. A curfew was put in place to stop theft.

"We had a curfew that went into effect last night at 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. in the mornings and it will last until we lift it. At this time, we have no idea how long that will be,” says Sheriff Hollan.

Lost Creek in Breathitt County is just one of the many areas that the sheriff says have been hit by looters. There are people out patrolling the area to make sure that that theft stops.

"These people have lost everything that they had and we don't want just anybody coming in and taking advantage because they can," Sheriff Hollan said.

So far there have been seven recovered in Breathitt County, said Hollan. These looting calls take away from the work that still needs to be done to save lives and give families closure. Flood victims also have scammers to look out for.

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FEMA spokesperson, Nate Custer, says, "On many of these there are scam artists that work to try to piggyback on the FEMA involvement and claim to be from FEMA."

Custer says never accept calls from someone claiming to be FEMA before applying for aid, always check the FEMA representative's ID, and once you do apply for aid, you'll get a secure 9-digit ID. If this happens to you, report it.

"Just tell the local law enforcement about it and don't do anything if you get an unexpected phone call claiming to be from FEMA,” said Custer.

Sheriff Hollan's message to looters is to stop - and he has this to say to people impacted by the flooding, "We're out here trying our best to protect your property and we don't want anyone taking valuables -- items of yours that might be of sentimental value, especially if somebody finds them.”