Neighbors affected by Hurricane Michael warn against looting

PANAMA CITY, Fl. (WDBJ7) - In the wake of Hurricane Michael, many Florida Panhandle residents were left in the dark, waiting for power restoration.

Many neighborhoods throughout the Panhandle took it upon themselves to deter looters. One neighborhood went one step further to prevent more crime in their community.

“I do not know who put that up," said Andrew Mrzena in his neighborhood in Southport, Fl. "But I’m actually thankful for it."

On Mary Jo Avenue in Southport, looters have been warned.

Someone has written "You Loot, We Shoot" on a piece of plywood and placed it outside the neighborhood. And next to that, another sign, that reads: "Count: 1."

“We have a generator running but we didn’t hear the shots, but there were four shots fired," said another neighbor, Virginia Arnold. "The men were running around the neighborhood, the police."

“It was very shocking to hear because I never would have thought that over here in this area that it would get bad," Mrzena said. "But it just goes to show you it’s everywhere.”

Mrzena said the signs show potential looters that looting won't be tolerated and that neighbors will do what it takes to protect their property. Police reported that they had a number of people arrested for looting, as many as 18 in just the first few days following the storm.

But even with the worrisome possibility, this neighborhood has grown closer together under the circumstances.

"We’re elderly, everyone was checking on us to make sure we were good, they were bringing in different things you know to make us comfortable," Arnold said. "And we’re just so proud and so blessed and we’re so proud of this neighborhood.”

Though Hurricane Michael brought it's wrath, it's also bringing communities closer together.

“I think it’s gonna change," said Neil Arnold, Virginia's husband. "I think that people will get to know each other and care about each other. We just pray that all will be well.”