Several rumors around the McKenzie River fires, including fire marshal impostors encouraging people to evacuate their homes, and looting of evacuated homes, we cleared up Thursday by Springfield Police.
"One of these concerns was regarding a subject posing as fire marshals, encouraging people to evacuate their homes," lieutenant George Crolly said in a release. "We have investigated several of these calls and have yet to identify a suspect, as most of the information we received was not firsthand to the caller."
There were also unfounded rumors about looting taking place at houses that citizens have chosen to evacuate from, police said. Crolly said it was merely the residents helping to remove items, as the residents had chosen to preemptively evacuate, albeit late at night.
“We encourage our citizens to continue to call us in the event of suspected criminal activity,” Crolly said. “Our officers will respond to investigate this activity. While we rely on social media to share information with the public, please be wary of unverified information you come across on social media platforms.”
If you have a specific concern about something you have read, please call the Springfield Police Department so that we can answer (or attempt to answer) your questions. If you witness criminal activity, please report specific information about the incident, to include the suspect(s), so our Officers can efficiently respond/investigate the concern.
In addition, you may see an increased patrol presence in certain neighborhoods of Springfield, Crolly said. This is a proactive measure aimed at deterring criminal activity and identifying any potential issues. Proactive policing has long been a key component to public safety in Springfield. The police department has NOT seen an uptick in crime, due to the Level 1 “Be Ready” evacuation notice for east Springfield (Thurston). We will continue to respond to calls for service as normal, and will remain vigilant for those who may try to take advantage of citizens during this emergency.