St. Charles County police patrolling flooded neighborhoods to keep looters away

WEST ALTON, Mo. - St. Charles County police were manning watercraft Monday afternoon in an effort to keep flood victims and their property safe.

There have been reports of looting.

Captain David Tiefenbrunn said St. Charles County officers were in West Alton around the clock. They work together with the Missouri Highway Patrol.

“…to keep the criminal element out of the area, keep the onlookers out of the area, and to be here for the residents,” he said.

Tiefenbrunn said since the flooding began weeks ago, there have been two incidents of looting. At least one suspect was caught.

“When you get people that are down and out on their luck and are losing everything they own and a thief wants to take what little bit they might have, that stoops to a new low,” he said.

Many of the homes in the West Alton area were underwater but some were built so the first level can take the floodwaters. The electricity was still on and about a dozen families are still in their homes upstairs, still high and dry.

Residents were grateful the St. Charles County police were putting in 12-hour shifts. Not only on the water but on the nearby highways, keeping folks away who shouldn’t be here.

“Knowing they’re (police) out here to protect us and knowing that they’re here for us makes us feel safe,” said Gary Dwiggins, who grew up in West Alton.

The sights of a flooded down have been overwhelming to new victims of the flood.

“I am not originally from here in West Alton, so it’s been a kind of a huge shocker since it’s been as bad as ’93, it’s overwhelming and devastating,” said Danielle Dwiggins.

Police were asking people not to take in flood sightseeing. It can only cause problems for first responders.

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