King Fire Evacuees Return to Looted Homes

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SWANSBORO-

Swansboro residents returning to their homes are finding they were burglarized during the King Fire evacuations.

Steel artist Samantha McClung and her family were evacuated from their home from Sept. 16-24. When they came back, they discovered many of their belongings were missing.

“They tried to pick the lock with a screw driver, and kick the door and it didn’t work,” McClung said. “My metal cutting tools were gone, all of our ammo boxes were gone, our big saws were gone.”

She estimated those tools cost her around $5,000. Beside her shop, she found her mother’s medical marijuana grow had been raided. There were eight large marijuana plants on their property before the King Fire. Now, there is only one.

Her mother, Kim has been fighting liver cancer for the last three years. she said the only thing that helps with her symptoms is the marijuana.

“I put it in my salad, anything I am cooking, I put it in there,” Kim McClung said. “They couldn’t have hurt me any worse.”

The McClungs believe they were targeted because of their grow. They do not know the street value of the amount of marijuana stolen from their property, but believe it amounts to thousands of dollars.

“They don’t have to take a disaster to rip people off, because we weren’t the only ones,” Kim McClung said.

In fact, many have taken to social media to warn others of these looters. The McClung’s neighbors claim their gardens were vandalized in their absence. Area residents want to know why their homes were not protected as they had hoped.

“When we were out, somebody wasn’t out patrolling our houses,” Samantha McClung said. “That’s what makes me upset because they forced us to leave, yet there wasn’t enough adequate security.”

The McClungs have since filed an incident report. The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department said they are “aware of one significant burglary.” However, no arrests have been made.

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