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Burglars and scammers among 40 arrested in Houston

Forty people have been arrested for looting across Houston and its surrounding areas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, police said.

Houston officials have imposed an overnight curfew running from midnight until 5am, but that hasn’t stopped dozens of people from breaking into homes and stores looking for cash and other items.

The city has also warned residents of scammers, posing as firefighters and Homeland Security special agents and telling people to evacuate in order to ransack their homes. 

Despite the 40 arrests, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the curfew and the increased police presence have helped keep most criminals at bay.

Houston officials have imposed an overnight curfew running from midnight until 5am, but that hasn’t stopped dozens of people from breaking into homes and stores looking for cash and other items. Pictured above, flooded homes are shown near Lake Houston

Despite the 40 arrests, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the curfew and the increased police presence have helped keep most criminals at bay. Pictured above, debris lies on the ground at Copano Cove in Rockport, Texas

Despite the 40 arrests, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the curfew and the increased police presence have helped keep most criminals at bay. Pictured above, debris lies on the ground at Copano Cove in Rockport, Texas

‘It was effective,’ he told the Houston Chronicle. ‘It’s going to remain in effect until we kind of get past the situations we’re in.’

Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said there were no arrests for curfew violation on Tuesday, the first night after it was imposed.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, looters broke into stores across Houston, stealing cigarettes, cash from registers and cell phones.

An Apple store in Houston had its door blasted open with a gun before it was looted, according to reports.

Prosecutors issued a statement promising that looters would face tougher penalties under Texas law for committing burglaries during a crisis.

‘People displaced or harmed in this storm are not going to be easy prey,’ said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. ‘Anyone who tries to take advantage of this storm and break into homes or businesses should know that they are going to feel the full weight of the law,’ she added.

‘Offenders will be processed around the clock without delay.’

The city has also warned residents of scammers, posing as firefighters and Homeland Security special agents and telling people to evacuate in order to ransack their homes. Pictured above, houses are seen partially submerged in flood waters in Northwest Houston

The city has also warned residents of scammers, posing as firefighters and Homeland Security special agents and telling people to evacuate in order to ransack their homes. Pictured above, houses are seen partially submerged in flood waters in Northwest Houston

Mayor of Houston Sylvester Turner said: ‘Just like we can rescue you we can also arrest you – obey the curfew, don’t engage in looting, let’s focus on rebuilding our city.’

Scammers posing as officials have also been knocking on doors in looting attempts.

City officials warned people to ask anyone knocking on their doors for official badges and credentials with their name and organization.

San Leon volunteer firefighter Jody Garcia told the Houston Chronicle that one person posing as a first responder pointed a shotgun at two residents who were trapped in their homes and told them to leave.

US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has confirmed they will not be conducting any operations in Houston during the rescue effort.

During Harvey relief efforts US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is not conducting immigration enforcement operations in the area.

Houston's 911 headquarters (pictured) is furiously trying to keep up with tens of thousands of calls for help related to Harvey. Operators are aiding panicked callers even as they're dealing with their own personal losses in the storm

Houston’s 911 headquarters (pictured) is furiously trying to keep up with tens of thousands of calls for help related to Harvey. Operators are aiding panicked callers even as they’re dealing with their own personal losses in the storm

In Houston people coming into shelters will not have their immigration status checked.

Houston’s 911 headquarters is furiously trying to keep up with tens of thousands of calls for help related to Harvey. Operators are aiding panicked callers even as they’re dealing with their own personal losses in the storm.

At its worst, from Sunday into Monday, some 75,000 calls poured in, more than eight times the normal 24-hour load.

‘This is like nothing we’ve ever experienced before,’ operator Erika Wells said during a short reprieve between calls.

The number of confirmed deaths linked to Harvey is at least 23. Authorities are investigating 17 more deaths to determine whether they were storm-related, and they fear many more bodies may be found as floodwaters start receding.

Among the dead was a woman whose shivering toddler was found clinging to her body in a rain-swollen canal in Southeast Texas. A police officer says the woman’s actions likely saved her daughter’s life.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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