Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said several people in the county, in efforts to “protect property,” had been conducting armed checkpoints, stopping cars they didn’t recognize.
“The first thing I’d ask them to do is please stop that,” Roberts said during a Sunday news conference. “It is illegal to stop somebody at gunpoint.”
The sheriff’s office has already reached out to “a number of them,” he said. Many of the people reentering the area were going back to retrieve their personal belongings.
“The last thing I want to see is anything tragically happen because somebody is overreacting to something,” he said.
Roberts said dispatchers received a 400% increase in calls out of the county for suspicious people since the fires began. Most of them were unfounded, though a small number of arrests have been made, he said.
He didn’t elaborate on the number of arrests or the nature of the offenses committed.
Misinformation divides residents and officials
As of Friday, there were at least five wildfires burning in Clackamas County, including the major Riverside and Beachie Creek fires. Most of the county is under an evacuation order.
But some residents living in those evacuation zones aren’t leaving their homes and are instead staying to “defend” their property.
Residents have crafted homemade signs lining wire fences and hazy, yellow-tinged streets, all warning looters that they would be shot.
“Looters get shot,” many of them threaten.
He also said there were confirmed reports of looting near the outskirts of the county, though the sheriff’s office has not publicly confirmed this.
Several members of the board were skeptical of Antifa’s involvement. Smith said only the one sergeant had been told by informants that Antifa members were intentionally setting fires, though he presented the information as fact.