Faced with looters and no power, Laplace residents arm themselves

Laplace residents defend their homes after power knocked out by tornado

LAPLACE, LA (WVUE) - It's been a long and dark couple of nights for Brandon Naquin.

"You never know how good you've got it," Naquin said. "Most of the times you go hit the switch and you've got lights. When you ain't got the lights, it's a whole other story."

Tuesday's tornado ripped right over his home, knocking down the oak tree in his front yard and knocking out power. So in the darkness, he took matters into his own hands to protect his property, armed with a rifle and handgun.

"You just don't want nobody to come in and think it's a dark house and let me go rob something because they ain't got nothing better to do," Naquin said.

Since the tornado damaged dozens of homes in Laplace, St. John sheriff's deputies have combed the street looking for looters. But the constant patrols weren't enough for everyone.

"The front door was open, and they had stolen a lot of stuff from me," said resident Edwina Williams.

Williams lost her roof Tuesday, and while she was away that very night, someone stole her jewelry, articles of clothing and a receiver to her TV.

"They already see what I'm going through," she said. "I was angry about that. I hope they find who did it, but if they don't, God knows. He knows who it is. They can hide from us but they can't hide from him."

"You're already beating a person while they're down," said Sheriff Mike Tregre. "That's probably as low as a person can get."

Tregre said in addition to Williams' robbery, there was a report of an attempted robbery at someone's home on the same street. And as many were still without power Thursday night, Tregre warned whoever preyed on tornado victims' homes to do so at their own risk.

"Residents will take the necessary steps to arm themselves and to protect their property and protect themselves," he said.

"I've got 42 round clips for it," Naquin said, showing his gun.

As the sun set Thursday, the power clicked back on at Naquin's home. But he said with many of his neighbors still without power, he'll keep his guns nearby.

"My heart goes out for people, you know?" he said. "You're going to come out and rob somebody? I just don't stand for that, you know.

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