Houston Police are cracking down on looters trying to take advantage of the chaos and widespread flooding caused by Tropical Storm Harvey, which initially made landfall as a hurricane in what is the worst disaster in Texas history.
Prosecutors said that at least 14 suspected armed looters have been arrested as of writing, Fox News reported.
“People displaced or harmed in this storm are not going to be easy prey,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said.
Robbers stealing from homes in disaster areas could carry life sentences under Texas law.
“Anyone who tries to take advantage of this storm to break into homes or businesses should know that they are going to feel the full weight of the law,” Ogg said. “Offenders will be processed around the clock without delay.”
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo also sent out a tweet as a warning to any future looters that they wouldn’t be getting off lightly.
“Some people thought they’d loot and find themselves in jail thanks to the men and women of @houstonpolice”, he tweeted on Aug. 27.
Chief Acevedo said that his officers arrested a group of people with guns who were robbing the community on Monday night. Officers caught the looters after a chase before taking them into jail. Acevedo said they also caught three other looters at a local Game Stop shop on the same day, ABC13 reported.
Brazoria County in Texas also announced a curfew for mandatory-evacuation areas for Tuesday, Aug. 29. A tweet from their official account it states that “a person shall not remain or travel upon any public or private property in ALL AREAS, where mandatory evacuation has been required…”
A tweet from Venture appears to show an Apple store that had been broken in.
Harris County Sheriff, Ed Gonzalez, also sent out a warning to any potential looters.
“To crooks out there, be warned! No looting & burglaries. We will not have it. My jail is open and you will be arrested & charged #Harvey”, the tweet on Aug. 28 said.