Volunteers on alert for looters in Rowlett tornado zone

Weeks after a tornado ripped through her Rowlett home, someone pilfered Sue Hartson's property.

ROWLETT — Sue Hartson had enough problems on her hands already. But weeks after a tornado tore apart her Rowlett home she said she was hit again. By looters. 

"In the kitchen, this cabinet was filled with stuff," Hartson lamented. "This is what I saw, that it was completely empty."

Hartson has tried to remove as many of her belongings from as she can from what's left of her home, but it's a challenge. 

"When you have 32 years' of stuff, it's just impossible," she said. 

She can't secure her belongings in her home for one big reason: The December 26 twister ripped one wall completely off her house, exposing her living room to the outdoors.

"I have this insatiable desire to want to lock the front door," she said, even though she knows that won't do any good.

But Hartson went on Facebook and reached out to a group called Looter Booters, one of several volunteer patrols that have popped up since the storm. They say they're filling a gap, helping to keep eyes on the neighborhood when the police cannot. 

Char Richardson founded Looter Booters, and said she works as a dispatcher for 50 regular volunteers. 

"We just want eyes on specific properties that have no walls and completely-exposed interiors," she said. "Criminals see them, and they just see open territory. And we want to keep them out."

Richardson said two of her patrol members spotted people in Hartson's home on Monday night, but stopped them. 

"They saw illegal trespassing of somebody who did not belong on this property," Richardson said. 

Rowlett police couldn't confirm that incident or any arrests, but it doesn't matter to Hartson. She's just glad there are friendly eyes keeping watch over her tattered home. 

"It's just me, and I can't stay and watch my house every night," she said. "They are just a blessing."


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