Two men have been charged by Oregon authorities with looting properties that were evacuated by owners fleeing the deadly wildfires that have so far forced half-a-million people from their homes, killed at least 31 people in three states, and left dozens more missing.
Anthony Travis Bodda, 21, and Alexander Justin Jones, 36, were arrested on Thursday after they allegedly led law enforcement officials on a high-speed chase in fire-ravaged Santiam Canyon, Oregon, authorities said.
‘I am disappointed that while in a state of emergency these people would victimize members of our community,’ Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast said.
Anthony Travis Bodda, 21, and Alexander Justin Jones, 36, were arrested on Thursday and charged after they allegedly looted homes that were evacuated due to the wildfires in Marion County, Oregon
Sheryl Christian rests on a cot with her mother Pat Skundrick at the evacuation center set up at the Jackson County Fairgrounds on Saturday in Central Point, Oregon
Margi Wyatt reacts after returning to find her mobile home destroyed by wildfire as her husband Marcelino Maceda (background) searches in the ruins in Estacada, Oregon, on Saturday
Margi Wyatt (right) is comforted by mobile home park manager Valerie after Wyatt returned to the R.V. park to find her home destroyed by wildfire in Estacada, Oregon, on Saturday
James Smith hugs his dog Rose after returning to his evacuated home to find looters had stolen his motorcycles in Estacada, Oregon, on Saturday.
Don and Carrie Rascal from Phoenix, Oregon, rest on a cot with their dog at the evacuation center set up at the Jackson County Fairgrounds on Saturday in Central Point, Oregon
In this aerial view from a drone, homes destroyed by wildfire are seen on Saturday in Talent, Oregon. Hundreds of homes in Talent and nearby towns have been lost due to wildfire
‘The women and men of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office are committed to holding people accountable if they chose to victimize residents from our evacuated areas.’
Sheriff’s deputies said they were responding to a report of a suspicious van near the city of Detroit, Oregon, just east of Salem.
Deputies spotted the van driving at a high rate of speed near the Gates region.
The two men are then alleged to have fled police on a highway and then drove through a nearby golf course.
Deputies managed to set up spike strips which punctured the tires and neutralized the van.
Satellite image shows smoke from wildfires in Oregon, California, and Washington State on Saturday
Mary Thomson (left) from Phoenix, Oregon, gets assistance from Salvation Army officer Tawnya Stumpf at the evacuation center set up at the Jackson County Fairgrounds in Central Point, Oregon, on Saturday
Oregon Governor Kate Brown toured the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem on Saturday where she spoke with volunteers and evacuees
Mary Thomson (left) from Phoenix, Oregon, receives a hot meal from the Salvation Army Disaster relief truck at the evacuation center set up at the Jackson County Fairgrounds on Saturday in Central Point, Oregon
Amid a shortage of firefighters, Christine VanOeveren (right) throws water on a hotspot on a fire line near Molalla, Oregon, as Melissa Rose prepares another bucket load
Marcelino Maceda looks for items in the remains of his mobile home after a wildfire swept through the R.V. park destroying multiple homes in Estacada, Oregon, on Saturday
Mark Mousseaux sorts through the burned remains of his house in a neighborhood burned by the Almeda fire in the town of Phoenix in southern Oregon on Saturday
George Coble carries a bucket of water to put out a tree still smoldering on his property destroyed by a wildfire in Mill City, Oregon, on Saturday
Erik Tucker pours water on a smoldering stump in an area around his home burned by the Beachie Creek Fire in Lyons, Oregon, on Saturday
Jennifer Harper (right) gets a hug from her friend Staci O'Shea as they stand in the driveway of Harper's burned home in a subdivision in Phoenix in southern Oregon on Saturday
The above image taken on Saturday shows an aerial view of the Samuel Lane Loop, a neighborhood completely devastated by the Almeda fire in southern Oregon
Residents console each other as they sift through the remnants of their home in Phoenix, Oregon, on Saturday
The Samuel Lane Loop neighborhood in Phoenix Oregon was completely devestated by the Almeda fire. Residents had only minutes to evacuate the fast moving fire.
Search and rescue personnel search for the remains of fire victims in the Bear Lakes Estates neighborhood which was left devastated by the Almeda fire in Phoenix, Oregon, on Saturday
The two men then got out of the van and made a run for it, according to sheriff’s deputies.
One of the men was immediately arrested on the golf course while the other was seen going into a goat shed near the area.
A K9 unit managed to locate the other suspect, who was also taken into custody.
The two men were taken to Marion County Jail and were charged with attempted theft, burglary, reckless driving, interfering with a peace officer, criminal mischief, and reckless endangerment.
The death toll from the fires in California, Oregon and Washington stood at 31 and was expected to rise sharply. Most of the fatalities were in California and Oregon.
In Oregon alone, more than 40,000 people have been evacuated and about 500,000 are in different levels of evacuation zones, Governor Kate Brown said on Saturday.
The remains of a US Forestry Department building after it was destroyed by the Bear Fire in Berry Creek, California, are pictured on Saturday
North Valley Disaster Group animal rescuers put out water and food for a small fox spotted along the roadside in Berry Creek, California, on Saturday
The remains of a US Forestry Department building after it was destroyed by the Bear Fire in Berry Creek, California, are seen above on Saturday
Fires along Oregon’s Cascade Range grew Saturday, but at a slower rate than earlier in the week, when strong easterly winds acted like a bellows, pushing two large fires - the Beachie Creek Fire and the Riverside Fire - toward each other and the state’s major population centers, including Portland’s southeastern suburbs.
Those who have been evacuated due to the ongoing wildfires in Western Oregon can take shelter in any of the locations listed below.
For the Holiday Farm Fire east of Springfield, the evacuation center at Thurston High School is being relocated to Springfield High School.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read