All it will take is a couple of unscrupulous people and a boat to make life even worse for folks who have lost almost everything in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s flood waters. With FEMA estimating that 30,00 people have been displaced by the flood waters from Hurricane Harvey, that leaves a lot of vacant homes and businesses that may look like islands of opportunity rising out of the flood waters for crooks.
The flood waters are not receding; in fact, more rain is expected, so the chance of people going home anytime soon is not in the cards today. Earlier reports of widespread looting are untrue, although Houston Police have arrested a “handful” of burglars in their city, according to Heavy. This type of behavior traditionally follows natural disasters that leave a vast area inhabitable and unattended. Looting was seen after Hurricane Katrina.
According to the online Free Dictionary, the definition of looting is as follows.
“To take goods from (a place) by force or without right, especially in time of war or lawlessness.”
Looting doesn’t have to be a mob. A natural disaster has left many parts of Texas without residents, leaving many homes and businesses vacant and only accessible by boat.
While looting may occur, those who are even pondering the thought of going on a hunt for goods that don’t belong to them might want to think again.
According to Deputy Bryan Simons, who is the spokesperson for the Victoria, Texas, County Sheriff’s Office, “Burglaries are a state jail felony, but if people are caught looting it will be moved up to a third-degree felony.”
This is Texas, as some on social media have reminded folks, and Texans don’t take kindly to looters. Some people are making sure others know that they won’t stand for looting in their neck of the woods.
Burglarizing these vacant homes and businesses during a state of emergency is considered looting, and that bumps it up to that third-degree felony. With all their efforts focused on saving people right now, if police have to respond to looting reports, they will just cart people off to jail, according to the Victoria Advocate.
Simons said, “We are going to take them to jail and that’s how it’s going to be.”
Some reports of looting today were downsized in words to burglary.
Lt. John Hooper with the Corpus Christi Police Department said, “Looting is mobs of people totally devastating and emptying businesses.”
That is not at all what they’ve seen in Corpus Christie, he conveyed.
Hooper said that the rumors of looting promoted panic from those who live in the city, resulting in a number of calls to police.
“We have had isolated incidents of theft and burglary during the storm and after the storm, but by no means does that fit the definition of ‘looting,'” Hooper said.
There is one looter who has caught the nation’s eye, and that is a dog carrying his own bag of dog food, which is a post that has gone viral across social media. The pup can be seen below.
Regardless of what anyone is calling it today, taking something that doesn’t belong to you from the area that is devastated by Hurricane Harvey won’t be tolerated.
“Nueces County District Attorney has promised the harshest penalties for anyone caught committing such thefts in connection with the hurricane,” according to the local ABC News affiliate in Corpus Christie.
Police have arrested about a half dozen burglary suspects in Corpus Christie today, and it was under the watchful eyes of neighbors in the area who led police to the culprits. People who saw something suspicious alerted police to these crimes, and this eventually led to arrests. A video posted to Facebook claimed to show looting. That video from YouTube is posted below.
[Featured Image by Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock]