Steven Little of Wellington says he was just cleaning up the river in Morgan County, but now he is behind bars.
Police say the scrap metal he allegedly stole belonged to a couple who died in the recent tornado outbreak.
Brent Cecil says losing his parents was difficult enough and then getting a phone call that his parents belongings were stolen just made the situation worse.
But little claims he had no idea the items belonged to anyone.
"I don't think I should be here," said Little, the accused thief.
Little was arrested just three days ago while picking up scrap metal in West Liberty in what he says was an attempt to clean up the river.
"There was copper and aluminum and refrigerators and stuff floating around everywhere, so I got the idea to clean it up a little bit," said Little.
Little says he was fishing explaining why he was in a canoe and had no idea the items belonged to a couple killed in the recent tornado outbreak.
But police did not buy his story charging him with theft by unlawful taking and criminal mischief.
"It really didn't surprise me when they found somebody. I'm glad they did find them, so they don't continue on to somebody else's place," said Brent Cecil, the couple's son.
Cecil says the death of his parents was hard enough and losing what he does not consider just scraps added to his family's loss.
"Everything that we see, we can identify with a particular part of the house or with an individual. So yeah, everything means something to us," said Cecil.
With Little now behind bar, he can only apologize for causing more hurt for this family.
"I'm just very sorry for Cecil's loss," said Little.
The Cecil family is still searching for what's left of this couple's home.
Little is being held at the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center.