As the flood waters continue to rise in West Virginia and even more rain threatens the state later today, one sheriff is looking to head off criminal activity that also seems to rise to the top of the water following natural disasters: looting.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office posted a press release on their Facebook page Sunday which included a personal message from Sheriff Kessler warning what could happen if residents catch looters before deputies do:

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office has received reports of looting and theft in the Nallen/Russellville area. Sheriff Steve Kessler released the following statement concerning this situation:
The Nallen/Russellville area suffered extensive damage during the recent floods. Many citizens of this area have lost everything. We are now receiving reports of looters and thieves coming into the area. This WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!
Sheriff’s Deputies will be initiating extra patrols in this area and the citizens have also implemented armed patrols to protect what is left of their homes and possessions.
“Anyone we catch looting will be arrested and jailed,” said Sheriff Kessler. “If the residents of this area catch you first, you may not make it to jail. If you are not a resident of this area and don’t have family members in the area you are trying to help, you need to stay out of this area.”

That makes for a great catchphrase: “You loot, we shoot!”

Good to see there are still sheriffs out there who are willing to stand up for citizens’ right to protect themselves and their homes using any means necessary.

The National Weather Service is warning downpours are possible in many of the areas already destroyed by flooding, including Kanawha and Nicholas counties including Greenbrier county, where 17 people have already perished and floodwaters have yet to recede.