HENRYVILLE, IN (WAVE) – A New Jersey man accused of looting homes damaged by the tornados was in court Wednesday morning. As he walked out, 35-year-old Matthew Smith told WAVE 3 he said he wasn't stealing anything.
"I was just trying to help," said Smith as he got in the elevator in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs.
Homeowners going through what was left of their homes on Pine Street noticed a stranger going through rubble of a neighbor's house. They confronted the man, who said he was picking up copper so people wouldn't steal it. Suspicious of the stranger, the neighbors called police, and say the man ran.
"When he was found out by the neighbors, he ran into the woods," said Maj. Chuck Adams Clark County Sheriff's Department. "Our guys got their shortly after that and we've got him in the Clark County Jail."
Police caught and arrested Smith of North Middletown, NJ around 2PM. Investigators say Smith was stealing the copper by cutting it from the house. He's facing a preliminary charge of burglary. Under Indiana law prosecutors have 72 hours to charge him. The just told him to expect to be back in court Thursday or Friday for his initial hearing.
Friday, May 24 2013 11:34 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:34:36 GMT
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Friday, May 24 2013 9:56 PM EDT2013-05-25 01:56:14 GMT
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Friday, May 24 2013 8:36 PM EDT2013-05-25 00:36:30 GMT
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Saturday, May 25 2013 8:07 AM EDT2013-05-25 12:07:57 GMT
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Shannon Gales' 2-year-old daughter was strapped in a car seat inside the vehicle when it overturned, according to Kentucky State Police. More >>