Sheriff warns Ohio tornado victims against using deadly force on looters

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DAYTON, Ohio — Some people living in Dayton’s Northridge area say they are armed and ready to shoot to protect what’s left following last week’s devastating tornadoes.

Several victims told WDTN they have had enough with the looters.

“Everybody on the street is staying with loaded guns to try to protect,” homeowner Nicole Adkins told WDTN.

Adkins said they can’t move anything out of their damaged home until their insurance company assesses their property.

“We’re living here on the front porch,” she said. “Somebody has to be at my home at all times, loaded with a shotgun.”

A family that rents a home across the street from Adkins told WDTN that their house had been broken into as well.

Tim Bowen lives one street away from Adkins. He told WDTN that he doesn’t have renter’s insurance, so whatever he has left will not be replaced if stolen.

That’s why he put a sign outside his home warning that “Thieves will be shot.”

“The first two nights were the worst, that’s when the sign went up. Once the sign and then we haven’t had too much of an issue here,” Bowen said.

“I stay in the house, I stay in the front of the house and my girlfriend, she stays in the back of the house. We cover the whole area. We take turns walking the property at night and making sure our generators aren’t stolen,” he said.

The Montgomery County Sheriff has warned homeowners against using deadly force.

“A citizen can only use deadly force just like law enforcement,” Sheriff Rob Streck said. “To save their life, or the life of others.”

“Unfortunately we can’t put 20-man units in every neighborhood,” Streck told WDTN. “But we can respond.”

Streck said his office has increased patrols and has undercover deputies out on the streets at night.

“In your mind, you can’t stand the thought of losing something,” Streck said. “But no, we cannot use deadly force just to protect property.”

Streck also warned that anyone breaking into a home will face charges of burglary or aggravated burglary. He said both are serious felony charges.

***More on the tornadoes that struck Dayton here**

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