UPDATE: Couple Charged With Looting Tornado Victim's Home

Mary Destefano and Matthew Gillikin are charged with 4 felonies after police say the couple stole a washer, dryer, refrigerator and an air conditioning unit from a Craven County home damaged in April's tornado outbreak.

Destefano posted a $5,000 bond, Gillikin is still in jail under a $5,000 secured bond. The homeowner does not have insurance to replace the appliances that were sold to a local recycling shop and will try to get restitution from the suspects.

PREVIOUS STORY:
The Craven County Sheriff's says they received a report some major appliances may have been stolen while a homeowner was away.

It was just over a week ago when a tornado ripped through a Craven County neighborhood off of Highway 70. Many volunteers and contract workers have been helping repair the damage, but it seems not everyone was helping. Deputies say a neighbor reported the home at 6260 Highway 70 East had it's washer, dryer, and refrigerator stolen this week. Neighbors say it's terrifying someone would do this.

"It's a very bad feeling. I can't hardly sleep at night because I think what if somebody tries to break in over here," said Kelly Smith who's home was also damaged in the tornado.

Captain Joe Heckman with the Craven County Sheriff's Office says check out workers and volunteers before allowing them to help you.

"If you don't know who they are, request that they show you some kind of identification or some type of licensing showing you that they can do, they can legally do what they are telling you," said
Captain Heckman.

The sheriff's office says this is the only home in the area that might have been hit by looters.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Mary D. Location: Beaufort NC on May 15, 2011 at 10:02 AM
    First of all, no one has heard our side of the story. Second of all, you should hear yourselves. You people are the criminals; look at the what you are saying about killing people, I have not been convicted of this crime. I was given permission to take the stuff and be on the property and have this conversation on tape. Lawsuits for Defamation of Character will follow.
  • by J on May 11, 2011 at 01:10 PM
    I will never understand why someone would kick someone else when they are down.
  • by B Location: Gville on May 11, 2011 at 01:06 PM
    Makes you want to belive in "shoot first, ask questions later".
  • by Seriously Location: williamston on May 11, 2011 at 05:56 AM
    Really?? Some people have no sense at all! They need to be sentence to community service for at least 2 years helping these people get their house back on track, as servants or slaves, with a band around their ankle!
  • by DEVIL on May 11, 2011 at 05:40 AM
    Rot Away...you took the words right out of my mouth. They can ROT there for the rest of their useless unworthy life.
  • by lumax Location: craven county on May 11, 2011 at 12:42 AM
    I replied to 'n' but it did not post so I'll post separate. If you can't stop yourself based on your own morals do you really think belief in an invisible entity will be a preventive. There are self-professed christians who sin even worse than this EVERY day and there are atheists who do not. No matter your religion or non-religion people will do what they want. These criminals only care about satisfying their own needs... they have no empathy. The comment by anon is a much better non-self pitying post.
  • by Rot away on May 10, 2011 at 08:43 PM
    There is a special place that I hope they go and rot in.
  • by Rick Location: Washington on May 10, 2011 at 08:16 PM
    There have been times and places where Law Enforcement shot looters on sight. Did reduce the problem, and got some trash off the street.
  • by Craven County Born & Sad Location: Bridgeton on May 10, 2011 at 05:44 PM
    New Bern and other Craven County folks want to believe that crime only happens elsewhere in the WITN viewing area, but WAYYYY too many of these stories relate to Craven County, especially considering the size of New Bern/Craven. Stop pretending citizens of New Bern; denial will only hurt us (if the thugs don't get us first!). New Bern residents live in a bubble of denial here on this website clucking indignant about other ENC cities, but it is now time to look in the mirror and see the truth...
  • by n Location: bertie county on Apr 27, 2011 at 01:17 AM
    How would you feel if it were your house and your families belongings that were stollen from you after your house was destroyed with all it's memories and everything in it. You should think about what you do before you do it because GOD is watching you.
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