When a natural disaster takes place, there may be a situation in which stealing is the only way for a person to survive. That is a far cry from looting items that are not necessary for survival and are only being stolen to make a profit.
This is an important distinction, especially if you’re accused of looting and face charges. If you have to steal because stores are closed, homes are ruined and there is no other option, then you are in a special circumstance. It would be hard to penalize anyone under those conditions, although some may try.
Dozens of people in Florida have been arrested for looting following Hurricane Irma. According to a new report, as many as 28 people were arrested after being accused of looting stores in the wake of the natural disaster.
Many people in Florida are without power due to the storm, so it may not be a surprise that some have turned to looting. The police have reported that they intend to arrest those who loot and have shown as much in their Twitter feed, which has images of people going to jail after arrest.
While theft isn’t ever acceptable in normal day-to-day life, natural disasters may cause typically law-abiding citizens to do things they later could come to regret. If you steal or loot and are caught during a natural disaster, you deserve the right to defend your position. You may not have had any other choice to help feed your family or keep warm, dry clothing on your backs. With the right defense, you can show how desperate the situation was.
Source: The Hill, “Dozens arrested in Florida for looting,” Rebecca Savransky, Sep. 11, 2017