Couple falls victim to tornado, burglary

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

An elderly Clovis couple who lost their house to the March 23 tornado said they were devastated again by burglaries to their property.

Delbert and Pearl Tivis had lived in their home on South Prince Street for almost 40 years when the tornado decimated it, leaving it uninhabitable.

They have relocated to a rental home in town while they await the arrival of a new modular home.

A week or so after the tornado, thieves cut and removed all the copper wire in the house and on the property, Pearl Tivis said. Thieves again broke into a building on the property Aug. 25 and stole a borrowed $400 generator being stored there, she said.

“We’ve had problems before, but we just locked it up as best we could and just hoped for the best,” Delbert Tivis said.

Delbert Tivis said they check the property at least once a day but he believes thieves have taken opportunity at night when no one is there.

“We’ve bolted up a little bit better. We haven’t seen any evidence of (thieves) coming back, but it makes us kind of anxious because when (we) go out there (we) don’t ever know (what we’ll find),” the 66-year-old said.

Erinn Burch with United Way of Eastern New Mexico said she has heard of few incidents where tornado victims were the victims of crime.

Curry County Undersheriff Wesley Waller said there have been few reports of tornado-related crimes and those that did occur took place immediately following the tornado.

For the Tivis family, the thefts were insult to injury when they had already lost everything.

“This will not stop us from getting back on our feet, but we can’t help but have heavy hearts at people who will stoop to do these kinds of evil deed,” she said.

“There is enough sadness going on in this world without thieves making things worse. Shame on these kind of people.”