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Sheriff: Community needs to watch for car, home break-ins

By Joe Dominguez, Multimedia Journalist - Pueblo Chieftain Bureau , j.dominguez@krdo.com
Published On: Jun 13 2013 11:17:33 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 14 2013 12:21:27 AM CDT

'Neighborhood watch' needed across the entire community in light of the Black Forest Fire

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. -

Law enforcement leaders are asking the community to keep an eye out for car and home break-ins in light of the Black Forest Fire and the evacuation of the tens of thousands of Colorado Springs, Black Forest and El Paso County residents.

Two people have been killed and about 360 homes have burned in the fire that sparked Tuesday. The fire has grown to 15,700 acres and forced approximately 38,000 people from their homes in El Paso County and Colorado Springs.

To this point, there have only been unconfirmed reports of items being stolen from the cars of evacuees, but we know it happened with last year's Waldo Canyon Fire.

Sheriff Terry Maketa urged the community for a "neighborhood watch" effort across the entire region.

As for protecting homes that are abandoned from looters and burglars, local law enforcement have plenty of help.

"I can assure you we will continue to have a strong presence, an enhanced presence," said Maketa.

More than 100 Colorado National Guard have been asked to help with roadblocks and patrol Black Forest streets.

"Letting people that are away from their homes sleep a little better knowing that there's somebody in a uniform and a Humvee watching your neighborhood along with the sheriff and police," said Lt. Col. Mitch Utterback, a military liaison working with fire leaders. "Making sure the right people get in there and the wrong people don't."

Last year the District Attorney's office sought harsh penalties for thieves who tried to take advantage of evacuations during the Waldo Canyon Fire.

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