University City Police working to deter potential looters after tornado

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by Russell Kinsaul/ KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on April 4, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 4 at 6:20 PM

(KMOV.com) -- St. Louis County has reported that up to 105 homes were damaged by an EF1 tornado that hit University City Thursday morning.

Authorities in the area are working to stop potential looters. Police have both ends of McKnight Road blocked off, as of Friday night, and they are strict about who they let through, all in an effort to protect storm victims and their property.

The storm blew through in only a matter of second, but it’ll take much long to repair the damage done to the house Bruce Mazer’s grandfather built in 1954.

“I had a hole in the back of the roof and the blown in insulation got wet,” Mazer said, “So they’re sucking that out.”

Officials reported 15 homes were damaged so badly they were unsafe to live in. They are boarded up, empty and vulnerable so police have increased patrols in the area to discourage looters.

“Yesterday, I had heard about some looting in the area,” said Mazer, “But it looks like UCity’s finest have been patrolling.”

Tornado victim Julie McClure said she has seen a number of gawkers and people claiming to be contractors who could be scammers, looters eyeballing potential victims or legit companies here to help neighbors.

“A tree uprooted and fell directly onto the house. There’s damage to the roof and the window was blown in,” McClure said, “I’ve seen a lot more police presence and I’m really glad to see it.”

If they can get McKnight Road cleared of debris and the downed power lines repaired, they hope to reopen the street sometime Friday night. 

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