Monday, September 14, 2020

Oregon residents are illegally stopping drivers at gunpoint during wildfire evacuations, sheriff says

Suspicions of looting have driven some residents of an Oregon county to illegally stop unfamiliar drivers at gunpoint, all while much of the county is under an evacuation order as wildfires rage. Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said several people in the county, in efforts to "protect property," had been conducting armed checkpoints, stopping cars they didn't recognize. "The first thing I'd ask them to do is please stop that," Roberts said during a Sunday news conference. "It is illegal to stop somebody at gunpoint."The sheriff's office has already reached out to "a number of them," he said. Many of the people reentering the area were going back to retrieve their personal belongings. "The last thing I want to see is anything tragically happen because somebody is overreacting to something," he said. Roberts said dispatchers received a 400% increase in calls out of the county for suspicious people since the fires began. Most of them were unfounded, though a small number of arrests have been made, he said. He didn't elaborate on the number of arrests or the nature of the offenses committed. As of Friday, there were at least five wildfires burning in Clackamas County, including the major Riverside and Beachie Creek fires. Most of the county is under an evacuation order. But some residents living in those evacuation zones aren't leaving their homes and are instead staying to "defend" their property. Residents have crafted homemade signs lining wire fences and hazy, yellow-tinged streets, all warning looters that they would be shot...MORE

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