Isaac brings high number of looting arrests, NOPD says

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 3, 2012 at 10:26 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 3 at 10:41 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- Hurricane Isaac not only caused death and destruction. The storm also sparked looting.

The New Orleans Police Department says a total of 42 people were arrested in the last week since the storm. The targets: vulnerable businesses and homes.

"It's not about the material stuff. It's just the idea of them invading my privacy. That's what I can't stand. I can't sleep," said New Orleans East resident Christina Johnson.

Since returning home after evacuating for three days, Johnson isn't sleeping well and it is not because of the heat.

"This is where they got in at. Right here, you can see where they kicked it in," said Johnson pointing to a large hole in the sheetrock of her storage unit wall.

Johnson said three flat-screen televisions and a stash of hidden cash are some of the things looters took after she left town with 10 family members concerned about Hurricane Isaac's arrival.

Johnson says neighbors were also targeted.

"When I found out, I went around the block: 'Did anybody see anything?' People said this person's house got broken into, this person's house got broken into and its just ridiculous," said Johnson.

"Its not unexpected to see burglaries increase during a time like this. We did see a spike in some parts of the city," said NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas.

Police say criminals continue to take advantage of power outages in New Orleans. Serpas said the police department made a historic number of arrests thanks to NOPD and National Guard unit patrols.

"Nearly everyone we found looting someone's business or home had already been arrested multiple times," said Superintendent Serpas about the repeat offenders who now face serious looting charges.

On the West Bank, crimemapping.com shows a handful of looting reports in the 3000 block of Rue Parc Fontaine in Algiers - all occurring during the storm.

"Just thinking about Katrina, didn't know how bad it was going to get," said Johnson about her decision to leave home ahead of Isaac.

Johnson never imagined it would be looters and not a hurricane that would destroy her home this time around, and her peace of mind.

"May God be with you because you're going to break into the wrong person's house, and they're going to leave them right there. and I'm just keepin' it real," said Johnson.

NOPD says many looters were caught red-handed thanks to concerned citizens who spotted the crimes underway.

 

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