2 in Hamilton County charged with theft, conspiracy related to tornado relief

Tennessee
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OOLTEWAH, Tenn. (AP) — Two managers of a Tennessee mobile home park accused of withholding tornado relief donations have been charged with theft and conspiracy, authorities said.

Steven West, 64, and Kimberly West, 49, were arrested by Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputies Thursday evening at their residence at the Auburn Hills mobile home park in Ooltewah, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported, citing a statement from authorities.

“During these traumatic events which have affected so many in our community, the HCSO wants to assure the public we take all allegations of victimization extremely serious,” Chief Deputy Austin Garrett said in a news release. “We encourage members of the community to report any instances of victimization.”

Court documents obtained by the newspaper say detectives saw 54 totes marked Red Cross in the residence through the window of the front door. Donated supplies came from local businesses and churches, the documents said.

Deputies were investigating after a resident complained about the handling of goods donated after a tornado hit the area on Easter. Severe weather killed three people around the state, injured dozens and destroyed more than 100 buildings.

Kim West said she was cooperating with law enforcement but declined to comment on the allegations. A man who refused to identify himself told the newspaper to leave. It wasn’t immediately clear whether they had attorneys.

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