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Looter Gang Arrested For Allegedly Stealing Cars From Kentucky Neighborhood Ravaged By Tornado

Five suspects are in custody after they tried to tow away cars belonging to tornado victims. 

Five people were arrested for allegedly stealing cars from a Kentucky neighborhood slammed by a tornado that killed numerous residents.

The incident took place in Graves County, Kentucky, on Dec. 17.

The police have named the arrested suspects as Kevin Stowe, 55, of Union City, Tennessee; Ronnie White, 57, of Hickman, Kentucky; Lynne Bailey, 56, of Hickman, Kentucky; Linda Morris, 52, of Dresden, Tennessee; and Kaitlyn Moore, 29.

Linda K. Morris, one of five suspects arrested for taking personal property and damaged vehicles from a neighborhood destroyed by the tornado, in Graves County, Kentucky, on Dec. 17.  (Graves County Sheriff’s Office/Zenger)
Kaitlyn R. Moore, one of five suspects arrested for taking personal property and damaged vehicles from neighborhood destroyed by the tornado, in Graves County, Kentucky. (Graves County Sheriff’s Office/Zenger)

Two of the arrested suspects, Morris and Moore, were also found to be in possession of methamphetamine and syringes, according to the police.

The Graves County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement saying: “On Friday afternoon, Graves Sheriff’s deputies were alerted to suspicious activity in the area of Cardinal and Pritchett Road. This area was particularly hit hard by the tornado and resulted in deaths.”

The police said the five suspects had been functioning as a team to rifle through other people’s personal property.

Ronnie D. White, 57, one of five suspects arrested for taking personal property and damaged vehicles from neighborhood destroyed by the tornado, in Graves County, Kentucky. (Graves County Sheriff’s Office/Zenger)

“It was reported that several suspects [who] appeared to have been working in a group were rummaging through [a person’s] personal property and loading vehicles that were destroyed by the tornado,” the sheriff’s office said.

Sheriff’s deputies from Calloway County and Graves County, as well as Kentucky State Police Troopers, worked together and “converged” on the group. They caught them red-handed “towing several damaged vehicles and attempting to leave the area,” the sheriff’s office said.

“Sheriff’s deputies and Troopers found a variety of personal items belonging to tornado victims, including some household goods, new shoes, muddy change, copper wiring and other items. They were also towing several vehicles that were owned by tornado victims that have been displaced by the tornado, in the hospital, and/or deceased,” the statement said.

The police said the suspects tried to claim the owners of the houses they allegedly robbed gave them permission to take their personal property.

Lynne E. Bailey., 56, one of five suspects arrested for taking personal property and damaged vehicles from neighborhood destroyed by the tornado, in Graves County, Kentucky. (Graves County Sheriff’s Office/Zenger)
Kevin Stowe, one of five suspects arrested for taking personal property and damaged vehicles from a Kentucky neighborhood destroyed by the tornado. (Graves County Sheriff’s Office/Zenger)

The sheriff’s office said some suspects contradicted each other about having the homeowners’ permission to take goods. Some of their claims were disproved after sheriff’s deputies found and questioned the homeowners about the stolen property.

Sheriff Jon Hayden said the suspects were now housed at county jails. The case remains under investigation.

A Graves County Sheriff’s Office posting on Facebook encouraged people to ask questions if they notice others moving items in their neighborhood.

“If it is legitimate, they shouldn’t have a problem with you being cautious and alert,” the post said.

Edited by Fern Siegel and Kristen Butler

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