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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thieves Target Flood Victim

ale Hooper's luck has run out, for the third time this year.

In April, his Fairfield, Pa., home was destroyed during a flood, displacing him and his family. Last week, some of the few possessions he had left were stolen from his locked storage shed.

"I feel like I'm stuck in the middle of a bad country song," Hooper, a former Frederick resident, said Wednesday.

The belongings that Hooper was able to salvage from the spring flood were stored in a shed near his home, across the state line about seven miles north of Emmitsburg. Inside of the locked shed was a truck that Hooper and his son, Collin, were working on before the 16-year-old gets his license next month.

Late last week, Hooper found the lock broken off the shed and a number of his belongings missing, including the tires and stereo from his son's truck.

"It is unbelievable" was about all Hooper could say about the situation.

Still living in his neighbor's house, which sits high on a hill above Toms Creek, Hooper said others in the area have reported similar thefts.

"I don't think I'll get anything back," said Hooper, who assumes his personal effects have already been sold by the robbers.

The Fairfield Police Department is aware of the thefts, he said.

Hooper was most baffled by the missing well pipe pump, stolen along with some power tools and snow shovels. The parts of his son's truck were the major expense, Hooper said, a loss of about $1,000.

"If I get my stuff back, that's fine," he said Wednesday. "I don't care about my stuff anymore. But this carried over to my son, and that's unacceptable."

In June, after the flood, Hooper was inundated with support from family and friends, who held a "Shelter From the Storm" fundraiser with music and a yard sale.

This time, things were no different.

"Oh, my, yes," Hooper said when asked whether people are chipping in to help his family.

Some of his musician friends already donated money to Hooper after a recent gig they played together. Hooper called the assistance "very special."

"The generosity that people have shown (is) really appreciated," he said.

Despite losing his job in September, just months after being displaced by the flood, Hooper is down but not out. The musician said he is trying to do whatever he can to get his life back on track.

"It seems that everything happens at one time," he said.

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