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Family charged with stealing from Sunset Hills tornado victims

by Diana Zoga

Posted on January 5, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 4 at 4:15 AM

(KMOV) -- Police in Sunset Hills arrested three men, accused of stealing from tornado victims on Tuesday.

Brothers, Elvis and Hajro Ferhatovic and their father, Omer Ferhatovic each face two counts of felony stealing.

The men were seen picking up an air conditioning unit, lawn mower, even pots and pans from tornado damaged homes. The men came back a few hours later and volunteers alerted police, who made the arrests.

Sunset Hill Police say that was the only case of looting reported to them. Although, officers have had to discourage on-lookers from picking up debris in the area. Police said some people were coming by and picking out items like shingles blown off of homes, as though they were souvenirs.

"We discourage them from coming to the area just to pick up little bits and pieces," said Lt. Greg Zveitel.

"They may be a small item they can yet recover."

A Sunset Hills officer is now stationed at the entrance of Court Drive around the clock. A local business also donated the use of a generator-powered flood light so officers can better monitor the scene at night.

St. Louis Police also confirm they took one burglary report from a home, damaged on Enright Avenue in north St. Louis.

Pam Talley with the Lewis Place Historical Preservation group in the neighborhood said many families were staying in their damaged homes to protect them from looters.