Dorian evacuees stranded in Columbus after cars burglarized and damaged at hotel

(Source: WTVM)
(Source: WTVM)(WTVY News 4)
Published: Sep. 5, 2019 at 9:01 AM CDT
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Hundreds of evacuees from areas affected by Hurricane Dorian have made their way to Columbus, whether it’s at the Columbus Civic Center or local hotels to avoid the storm.

Evacuees at one hotel said they’re now having to deal with investigations with Columbus police after their vehicles were damaged and burglarized during their stay.

“Tried to leave from there to avoid any damages to the bikes from any weather or issues only to come up here to not only the bikes, but the trucks are damaged too?” said Josephine Nelan.

Josephine Nelan and her husband were planning to return home to Daytona, Florida on Wednesday, but when they left the Fairfield Inn and Suites on Armour Road, they found their truck and motor bikes damaged. The ignitions and radio were ripped out of their two vehicles.

“We filed the report and then we thought wow, how do we get back home? We’re kind of stranded here," said Josephine Nelan.

More residents reported the same thing. One woman said her vehicle was burglarized, driven, and returned to the hotel in a different parking spot.

“I was really mad when I saw in the truck that it was smashed up because we have to drive back to Daytona, and I don’t know how I’m going to do that,” said Casey Nelan.

Police and hotel management said it’s an active investigation. Evacuees said they’re now hoping to scrape together some parts for their truck to possibly get it started to drive nearly six hours to return home.

“It just kind of sucks because it feels like we’ve been taken advantage of from being here. I hope they find the people who did it because it didn’t just affect me and my husband, it also affected some other people,” said Josephine Nelan.

According to police, surveillance footage will be examined to possibly find some answers. For now, this family said they are working out a way to get home.

Copyright 2019 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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