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Southside families targeted by thieves

Many on the southside affected by July's flood are now the target of thieves, the sheriff's department explains how they're responding to the increase.

Posted: Sep 24, 2020 8:36 AM
Updated: Sep 24, 2020 8:49 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) In the weeks following the southside flood, many victims are finding themselves targeted by thieves.

When the water began to rise at 17-year-old Jesse Flaherty's home on W Valley St., and his mom knew they had to act fast.

"It just got higher and higher and higher until we finally had to leave," Flaherty said. 

The two fled their southside home to stay with a relative, Flaherty said the adjustment has been hard on both of them.

"We all suddenly had to drop everything and move because there was just nothing we could do," Flaherty said. 

While they’re still trying to recover, Flaherty said his family got a phone call from a neighbor saying their home was burglarized, Flaherty said he wasn't surprised.

"I kind of expected it to happen," he said. "It made me feel invaded." 

Buchanan County Sheriff Bill Puett said Flaherty’s case is one of many.

"It’s very disheartening to think that individuals would victimize people who’ve already suffered such a traumatic loss," Puett said. 

The Sheriff's Department has assisted police in conducting extra patrols in the area since the flood though, he added vigilance is a community effort.

"If folks that are supposed to be down there and know who's supposed to be down there see something that’s not right, they should call the communications center and have law enforcement respond." Puett said. 

Puett said he hopes the effort put in to helping victims like the Flaherty's get back on their feet, can overshadow the crime.

"Thoughts and prayers go out to these folks," Puett said. "We hope that people can continue to help them."

The Flaherty's are working with the Community Action Partnership of Greater St. Joseph to replace some of their possessions that were stolen and are accepting donations from the community. Those interested should contact Hannah Libel of CAP at 816-385-7608. 

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