Man wanted after living in, vandalizing storm shelter in Limestone County

WAAY 31 spoke with folks who live near the shelter about the bizarre news.

Posted: Jun 10, 2019 6:30 PM
Updated: Jun 10, 2019 6:34 PM

A man is wanted in Limestone County after living in and vandalizing a community storm shelter.

That shelter is on Bethel Road, near Wooley Springs Baptist Church.

"That’s crazy," Jason Strong said. "In my opinion, that’s just crazy.”

That was Jason Strong’s reaction when he learned a man was found living in a storm shelter, not far from his home.

He told WAAY 31, if we had gotten severe weather, and people needed to go to the shelter, it could’ve been really bad.

“It’s sad that someone had to live in storm shelter, but it’s also sad to think of locking it, where other community members could not get in the shelter if we had a storm come through," he said.

And Strong isn't the only one who thinks locking the door is a bad idea, saying it could affect others in emergency situations.

“You never want to lock it because that’s a safety concern for anybody that’s trying to get into it during severe weather," James Hulsey said. "When a tornado touches down, you have less than ten minutes.”

The affected shelter is one of only a few across the county that remain unlocked. It’s monitored by a neighboring church. The pastor of that church is who found the man inside.

That man is accused of vandalizing the shelter by splattering paint and leaving marks on the walls, among other things. He is now facing criminal mischief charges.

Strong believes the incident could’ve been prevented if the man had just asked for help.

“If anything, go to the church and talk to the pastor," Strong said. "See if there’s some other kind of outreach that the gentleman or person staying in the shelter could get some other help.”

Now, Jason Strong and James Hulsey are thinking of ways to keep something like this from happening again—like security cameras or extra eyes.

“There should be somebody there to ensure that the shelter is maintained," Hulsey said.

“I think having people look after it a little bit closer. Pay a little more attention to what’s going on in your own community," Strong added.

The Limestone County Sheriff’s Office told WAAY 31 they have an idea of who was living inside the shelter, but they haven’t released the man’s identity yet.

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