A recent theft at the city’s sewer plant will cost approximately $1,700 to replace the items stolen. Water and Sewage Plant Supervisor Mark Duff said a 16 feet extension ladder and a trash pump were taken from the city’s sewage plant.
“This is a very serious crime,” said Duff. “Police Chief Mike Lunsford is actively investigating this theft.”
Councilwoman Trenna Cornett said she had received several phone calls from “good citizens — lifelong citizens of Loyall” saying they were “fearful and concerned” about thefts in the city and their safety.
“My nephew-in-law made a phone call about someone being in an empty house beside him, and our police crew were not on duty, so it was dispatched out to the city of Harlan. After about 20 minutes I made the call too and 45 minutes later no one had responded,” said Cornett. “My nephew then went to the empty house himself and told the person to leave and they didn’t have any business being there. Also we’ve got people riding into Black Bottom on bicycles with backpacks and they have been in two or three empty houses over there. I don’t know what our police department’s schedule is, and I don’t know that it would matter, but we have a problem.”
Mayor Clarence Longworth said “someone should have responded to the calls made.”
“What it’s going to take is citizens getting involved,” said Longworth. “It takes neighbors watching neighbors. We have two police officers and we do shift their schedules around to try and keep the public unaware of their schedules because some may watch for them to leave and then they begin their criminal activity.”
Cornett said she is getting reports of people running across private property and Weedeaters and chain saws being stolen from back yards. She said some residents were telling her they are now carrying guns to protect themselves and their property.
“We’re always going to be underhanded with the size of town we have and only two officers,” said Longworth. “You all know that some of our neighbors now are the ones we are having to watch. It’s going to take good citizens keeping their eyes open and not being afraid to call. You may call 573-6396 and if we’re not here it goes straight to the Harlan Police Department. If they aren’t there, they are supposed to get in touch with the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office or if all else fails call me at my house. I’ll try to get in touch with someone. We’ll work with the citizens if they will let us know. Call as soon as you see something, don’t wait until they are gone. The courts need to be more stricter too.”
Also discussed during the meeting was an issue of residents putting large pieces of garbage out on their property lines or the sidewalks several days before pick-ups are scheduled. Pick-ups in the city are the first and third Thursdays of each month weather permitting.
“They should be putting this stuff out the day before or the morning of the scheduled pick-ups,” said Longworth. “We can’t run every day to pick up this stuff because of the fuel cost and manpower available. Residents should keep it inside their yard until the day of the pick-up.”
Loyall resident Pete Vowell complimented Bill McFarland for his continued efforts of picking up garbage in the city. He said McFarland has been doing this for some time now and it has made a difference.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org