MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) They just can't catch a break. "It's frustrating when you're in a situation completely beyond your control," said Midtown Mobile resident Michele Nolen-Schmidt.
People living on S. Carlen Street are trying to move on. Everyday they're busy cleaning up the Christmas tornado's mess. Now thieves are adding to the nightmare.
"We've had some vultures out looking to capitalize on somebody else's problems," said Tom Gaylard, who also lives on S. Carlen.
At 52 S. Carlen, police say vandals broke in after the storm and ransacked the place. They shattered glass, wrote on the walls inside and broke toilets of all things.
"There are bad people everywhere unfortunately," said Gaylard.
He considers it his full-time job keeping an eye on his neighbors and their homes. He says Wednesday night he stopped a couple from stealing an A/C unit at the house across the street from him.
"The guy tried to tell me that the owner had told him to put a note on the air conditioner. And I said well I don't know that that's going to do you any good so you need to leave. And they disappeared," said Gaylard.
But looters aren't just after copper. Police say one woman reported her car was stolen on S. Carlen Street. It was parked in front of her house after it was damaged in the storm.
Mobile Police say they've authorized overtime for officers so that patrols are on duty 24/7 in tornado stricken areas, but the crimes are still occurring.
"They're doing their job. They can't waste all their resources on us. But when you have a problem like this you'd think they'd have more of a presence here," said Gaylard.
Now folks on this street are taking matters into their own hands. One couple installed spotlights in their yard, to shine on neighboring houses left vacant because of the tornado.
"We're just a neighborhood and like anybody else we watch out for each other," said Gaylard.