Four charged in looting from storm-damaged homes - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Four charged in looting from storm-damaged homes

TWINSBURG, Ohio (AP) - Three adults and a juvenile have been charged in the looting of two homes in the Cleveland suburb of Twinsburg that suffered storm damage Sunday as tornados moved through the state.

Looters pried boards off of two neighboring houses about 3:15 a.m. Wednesday and stole cameras, jewelry and clothing, police Chief Richard Deal said.

A neighbor reported seeing suspicious activity and police found the items on the suspects, Deal said.

Jesse Kisner, 19, Zachary Drewnak, 18, Jeffrey Dixon, 21, and a 17-year-old juvenile were charged with two counts each of burglary and one count of possession of criminal tools. They were to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.

Twinsburg had about 100 houses damaged and three destroyed in Sunday's storms that killed five in northwestern Ohio.

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Taft adds Putman County to list of counties in state of emergency

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Gov. Bob Taft on Wednesday added Putnam County to an emergency declaration already issued to four other counties damaged by last weekend's storms.

Taft earlier declared a state of emergency for Ottawa, Paulding, Seneca and Van Wert counties. The declaration allows state agencies to help local officials.

A storm Sunday spawned tornadoes over a 100-mile path of destruction through northwest Ohio, killing five people. More than 70 tornadoes and thunderstorms killed at least 35 people and injured more than 200 in five states over the weekend and Monday.

Federal Emergency Management Agency teams toured storm damaged areas Wednesday to determine if the state qualified for federal assistance, said Dick Kimmins, state emergency management director.

FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh, who had been considering a trip to Ohio on Thursday, will go to Tennessee instead, Kimmins said.

In Ohio, one person was thrown from a car and killed, and two died in collapsed homes. Two others were killed when their mobile home overturned.

"It is an absolute miracle that with the force and the fury of this storm that there was not more loss of life," Taft said.

On Wednesday, the American Red Cross revised its damage estimate in 17 Ohio counties. The agency said 152 homes, mobile homes and apartments were destroyed, 156 had major damage and 388 had minor damage.

The new estimate removes about 500 structures, mostly in Franklin County in central Ohio, that were damaged by hail.

State Farm Insurance Cos., which insures the largest number of Ohioans, said it has received claims totaling $17 million.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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