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Officials in Volusia County warn of schemes ahead of Hurricane Dorian

Sheriff says to report people claiming to be city officials to 911

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VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Volusia County leaders held a news briefing Tuesday updating residents on preparations ahead of Hurricane Dorian.

Part of their preparation was staging law enforcement officers and first responders near the St. Johns River. County leaders want to be proactive to assist residents who may be impacted by the river's flooding.

As Hurricane Dorian nears Florida's coast, county leaders ask residents to heed warnings and curfews.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood specifically asked residents to be safe and aware. 

"Yesterday we had two victims, one in Debary, an 85-year-old woman who fell victim to a tree scammer," he said. "Took over $20,000 from the woman."

He also warned of another scheme in Deland, where a person showed up at the house of an individual who was visually impaired. He said the person took advantage of the victim and pretended to be a city official.

"If somebody comes to your house and claims to be a city worker, a county worker, roofer etc., don't let them in. Call 911," he said. 

Chitwood said deputies will ensure the safety of Volusia County residents and will not tolerate crime.


[WATCH: Hurricane Dorian brings standing water in Volusia County]

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that Thaylon Lewis and Joseph Colombo Jr. were arrested Monday evening after a deputy spotted one man taking the sandbags from a highway overpass and the other acting as a lookout.

Lewis is charged with theft during a declared state of emergency, a third-degree felony. Colombo was also arrested for an injunction violation for possessing a firearm, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Hurricane Dorian has weakened to a Category 2 storm as it continues to batter the Bahamas with life-threatening storm surge before it heads on a projected path along Florida's east coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Dorian's maximum sustained winds decreased Tuesday morning to near 110 mph with gusts of up to 130 mph, but it's expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next few days.