Hurricane Florence has landed in the Carolinas.
A number of people have perished from the storm and the flooding, I understand, is epic.
But that’s not all that is going on in affected areas… blatant in-your-face looting is going on in a number of places.
I am sure people are struggling with the storm, but there is simply no excuse for this kind of lawlessness.
In Wilmington, North Carolina, a whole bunch of citizens decided this was the perfect time to break into and loot a Family Dollar Store.
It happened yesterday on Greenfield Street. People were stealing anything they could get their hands on until one white woman showed up. She’s one brave lady.
That woman was WECT reporter Chelsea Donovan and she had her camera crew with her.
The thieves covered their faces with hoodies and masks and ran off. Then the cowards stood across the street flipping Donovan off.
Some of them were kids. They all knew they were breaking the law too and didn’t seem to care.
There were literally dozens of people streaming in and out of that store in the front and the back where the doors had been busted open.
They were carrying items in laundry bags back to the public housing community Houston Moore.
“When we came over the hill on Greenfield Street, you could just see people everywhere,” Chelsea Donovan said.
The storm only started a couple of days ago so these people were not in dire need of anything.
This was just plain opportunistic theft. And when the police were called, it gets even more bizarre.
The owners of the store originally asked them to stand down according to Fox News and just let the looters take what they wanted to take. SMH.
Wilmington police sent out a statement saying that they were told by management of the Family Dollar to stand down after receiving reports of looting at the store.
Assistant Police Chief Mitch Cunningham said officers were talking with the owner, who initially said he didn’t want to pursue charges when they arrived on scene.
Cunningham said officers consulted with the district attorney and the owner ultimately agreed to press charges.
Police officers are now trying to identify the looters.
I hope they catch every last one of them. Because of the looting, Wilmington police said they will enact an extended curfew for the blocks between 13th, 14th, Greenfield, and Martin streets. The curfew will go into effect at 5 p.m. and will last until 6 a.m.
“We take looting very seriously and we are going to aggressively pursue any kind of looting that goes on,” Cunningham said.
“We are going to take a strong stand.” It always amazes me how quickly people turn to crime when a catastrophe hits… no matter the size or duration.
All it takes is a few hours or days of things being shut down and they go for it. Every single time.
District Attorney Ben David knew this was coming and earlier this week went about clearing room in the local jail so looters could be charged and locked up.
Brunswick County authorities arrested four people earlier this week on felony breaking and entering charges. It sounds like the minute people got out of town as they were ordered to, these people started looting.
Eventually, Donovan and her camera person had to retreat to their vehicle as it looked like things were going to get ugly and possibly violent. “I was concerned the whole time. I won’t lie, but I was there to get the story,” Donovan said. She’s lucky she didn’t get more than that. Just sayin’.
“After the looting, District Attorney Ben David reiterated a statement he said ahead of Hurricane Florence hitting the coast: “There is a vacancy sign on our jail.”
“David and Judge J. Corpening allowed inmates with low-level misdemeanors to be released on their own recognizance while others were transported to other detention facilities to make room for anyone who takes advantage of this situation.
“We have room for people who are going to show the worst in humanity during this. If that means going into unoccupied homes because people have left or looting property that’s exposed to the elements or price gouging that comes in the wake of clean up,” David said.
“David said his advice to the chief of police is to prosecute looters to the fullest extent of the law. A business can decide whatever they want to do civilly, but criminally law enforcement has been advised to move forward.
“It is a felony,” David said. “These are serious crimes, and they are going to be seriously punished.”
“In regards to the looting at the Family Dollar, David said there are people that can be identified by watching the video. He encourages people to report anyone they recognize.
“Just a few hours later, the Wilmington Police Department arrested five people from the Family Dollar store on Dawson Street. Police say they will be charged to the fullest extent of the law.
“David made it perfectly clear that law enforcement is ready to do their jobs.
“We’re going to do everything we can to protect your property. This is not a response to the video, this has been our message before the storm arrived,” said David, adding, “This conduct does not speak for the people in that community.’”
This is the ugly side of what a natural or manmade disaster can bring concerning crime. The police no doubt will be busy for days rounding these people up and making sure they get the justice they deserve.
They sure did run at first from that reporter. I’m glad she got out of there because they looked like they would have gleefully torn her apart.