As Harvey survivors prepare to move back home, Houston police say a different threat remains

Dominic Spann breaks apart a toy while helping clean out his grandfather's destroyed mobile homes after floodwaters from Harvey swept through the area Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, in Crosby, Texas. Thousands of people have been displaced by torrential rains and catastrophic flooding since Harvey slammed into Southeast Texas last week. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

During Hurricane Harvey, Houston discovered the heroes living among us.

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Although many residents came together to help their community, some flood victims said they are now seeing the darker side of the city:

As those who lost all to Harvey begin to rebuild, thieves are reportedly targeting their homes, stealing tools, appliances and any personal belongings left in the site.

RELATED: Thieves targeting Friendswood homes damaged by Harvey

“It’s heartbreaking,” homeowner Amy Yeary said in an interview with KHOU. “People have lost everything. We saw people’s whole lives on the sidewalk, and it’s just terrible that there are those people (stealing).”

After the storm, homeowners reported belongings being stolen from yards and driveways, put out to dry out from the flood.

Now, thieves are entering homes to take what remains of the family’s possessions.

Storm victims reported thieves are going so far as to break windows and steal appliances from homes almost ready for the family to move back home.

As Rare previously reported, thefts from Harvey victims are on the rise, given the difficulties in securing storm damaged homes, and many homeowners are faced with questions of where to store their remaining belongings in their flooded properties.

Not only are thieves stealing possessions, police say they are also targeting the tools of contractors working in the home, further delaying repairs.

RELATED: Harris County approves first round of Harvey buyouts

In Harris County Precinct 5, Constable Ted Heap said he increased patrols of uniformed and plainclothes officers to counter the thefts, which deputies believe are perpetrated by two theft rings.

However, he said citizens are the first line of defense against these burglaries:

“The best defense for something like this is neighbors,” Heap said in an interview. “So, if you see something going on, if you see an unmarked panel truck pulling up at 11:00 o’clock at night, they’re not dropping off a refrigerator. They’re probably removing a refrigerator. So ,just give us a call and let us check them out.”

If you would like to report information on situations like this, contact your local authorities or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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