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Waldo Canyon Fire Evacuees Upset By ‘Baffling’ Vandalism

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Bear Wilson shows the bowl vandals destroyed in his house. (credit: CBS)

Bear Wilson shows the bowl vandals destroyed in his house. (credit: CBS)

GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Some Colorado Springs are expressing anger and frustration over the looting that hit them firsthand during the Waldo Canyon Fire.

Bear Wilson and Brian Vitulli are two different homeowners whose homes were among the many struck by criminals while the evacuation order was in effect last week.

While Wilson and Vitulli obviously feel lucky their homes weren’t among the 346 that burned in the fire, they certainly didn’t expect to return to a home that had been ransacked by criminals.

Wilson showed CBS4’s Dominic Garcia digital pics he took after the evacuation order for his neighborhood was lifted. The bedrooms were a total mess, with dressers that had been dumped out and his wife’s jewelry missing.

“You just wonder what would go through people’s minds — why they would do something like that,” Wilson said.

The burglars also took the Wilson family’s iPod and Nintendo Wii, plus they cracked in half a special bowl from Italy — a family heirloom — that had been passed down through four generations. Wilson’s wife had just inherited it months ago when her mother died.

For Vitulli, it wasn’t so much the broken window or shredded up couch that got to him, it was the fact that his little girl’s artwork had been damaged.

“It’s mindless and senseless, and just baffling, really,” he told CBS4.

Brian Vitulli

Brian Vitulli talks with CBS4’s Dominic Garcia (credit: CBS)

Looking through the damage and trying to tally up what was missing, Wilson said he had pretty much “given up on humanity as a whole” at that point. It was the “senselessness, the maliciousness with no reason” that got to him.

But neighbors have been supportive, and Wilson was pleased to learn an anonymous donor has pledged $50,000 towards the reward that goes to the person who can provide information that leads to an arrest in the lootings cases.

“That’s great. I hope some people start talking and pointing some fingers,” he said.

Wilson said he now feels like he’s sure the “community will rally and we’ll be on top again.”

Colorado Springs police say looting took place at about 50 homes during the evacuations.

Wildfire Resources

- Visit CBSDenver.com’s Wildfire Resources section.

- Read recent Wildfire stories.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfires (Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

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