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|Looters Hit Hurricane-Damaged Retailers in
Blown-out windows and doors offer an inviting target to thieves in wake of
AP Photo/Dallas Morning News, Michael Ainsworth
A person is arrested after allegedly looting a grocery store during Hurricane
Katrina in New Orleans, Monday, Aug. 29, 2005.
Early reports in from the Gulf Coast, including areas in New Orleans and the
Gulf Coast indicate that retail establishments have already fallen prey to
looters in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Mississippi's Governor Haley Barbour said that the National Guard will be
responding decisively to acts of looting.
"To me looting is about the equivalent of grave robbing; we're not going to
stand for it," Barbour told reporters for Gulfport, Miss.'s Sun Herald
The newspaper, which is based in one of the areas hit most severely by Katrina,
reported that the Mississippi National Guard's Harold Cross was also warning
looters of the repercussions. "If you are in the business of theft, this might
not be the time to play your trade," Cross was quoted as saying on the Sun
Herald's storm blog.
"As soon as the wind subsided, looters struck. They stole cars, radios, liquor,
furniture, generators and anything else they could fine," wrote Sun Herald
reporters Don Hammack, Anita Lee, Joshua Norman and Margaret Baker for a story
to be published on Tuesday.
The Associated Press has already indicated that looting has also become a
problem in parts of New Orleans and surrounding areas, where flood water
inundated low-lying areas, destroying windows and blowing out doors to
Curfews have been implemented in many of the storm-ravished areas to curtail
looting, but with damage that tore off roofs and store fronts, and with law
enforcement focused primarily on responding to victims of the storm, looting is
expected to be a continued problem.
KTRK, the ABC television affiliate station in Houston, Texas, has reported that
looting has become an issue at residential locations in the Houston metro area
as well: "Some evacuees received disturbing phone calls from the security alarm
companies saying that people were looting their homes," said a report on the
The Mississippi's coastal casinos had already closed shop well before Hurricane
Katrina made landfall, and their facilities are believed to be secure, though
many are severely damaged. As of midnight on Monday, no reports had yet been
made of any attempted lootings at the area's gaming establishments.