While thousands of people are frantically attempting to be rescued from the Houston area following the catastrophic flooding brought by Hurricane Harvey, some people have used it as an opportunity to loot from stores.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said that so far, four people have been arrested for looting in the area as of Monday, and security footage from a store appears to show several more ransacking an empty store closed due to the floods.
Watch the security footage from the store in the video below:
Another video posted to Twitter on Sunday appears to show a handful of people exiting what appears to be an electronics store in the area. Two people are carrying flat-screen TVs through the parking lot while a person in a nearby vehicle films. Others can be seen walking out of shattered glass doors with their hands full of products from a Family Dollar store.
Jon Bridgers, the founder of the Cajun Navy 2016, told the Houston Chronicle that one group of volunteers attempting to rescue victims from the life-threatening floods almost had their boat stolen while another was shot at when it didn’t respond to a stranded group requesting assistance.
“It wasn’t a surprise because we had some of the same things happen in the past,” Bridgers said to the publication. “You got a very limited number of people out there who would do something like that. We were hoping that it wouldn’t happen, but it did.”
The Cajun Navy was organized by Bridgers and has been coordinating thousands of volunteers to assist victims of the Category 4 storm.
On Monday, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office posted a warning to criminals on social media, saying that looters would be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent.
“(D.A. Brett) Ligon announced today that his office will seek prison or jail time in each and every forthcoming case where the defendant stands charged with theft (looting), burglary, robbery, or any similar crime committed during Hurricane Harvey,” a message posted from the D.A.’s office to Facebook said. “Leniency and probation will be off the table for these offenses committed during this time.”
Officials in Texas have said that at least nine people are dead as a result of Harvey, and the storm doesn’t appear to be over anytime soon. Meteorologists forecast that at least 50 inches of rain will have fallen in some parts of the city by Wednesday since the storm made landfall.
“We are not out of the woods yet,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said to The Washington Post. “Harvey is still a dangerous and historic storm.”