Skip to comments.RITA MISSED, BUT THIEVES LEFT MARK
Posted on 09/30/2005 5:05:29 AM PDT by MeneMeneTekelUpharsin
Dionne Lacy and her fiance, Reginald Randle, were surprised to see a large dent in their garage door Monday when they returned from an exhausting, five-day evacuation trip to Bernice, La. What they initially thought was wind damage to their Texas City home turned out to be the work of thieves who ransacked their residence and others in the South Point subdivision, making off with thousands of dollars' worth of property. "It was devastating. I don't feel safe, and now we're talking about purchasing a gun to protect ourselves, and I never wanted a gun in my home," she said.
Such thefts were not isolated to South Point. As people returned home, weary from the exodus but relieved that Hurricane Rita had spared residences, some were shocked to find homes ransacked during sporadic crime waves across the Houston area. Law enforcement officials interviewed this week said there were increased reports of burglaries of residences and businesses between Sept. 23 and Tuesday. They also arrested an above-average number of burglary suspects, many of whom were caught in the act after alarm systems and alert neighbors notified police. Harris County deputies recorded at least 201 burglaries of residences and businesses between Sept. 23 and 25.
"That's not normal. Those numbers are high," said Sgt. Terry Wilson of the sheriff's office burglary and theft division. Fort Bend County had 35 burglary reports, up 8 percent from the weekly average. Texas City received 46 burglary reports, up 229 percent from a weekly average of 14. Pasadena police had 77 reports of burglary of a habitation and four of burglary of a business between Sept. 23 and 27. There were just eight residential and four business burglaries in the same period last year. Houston police said they arrested at least 74 suspects, but they will not know how many residences were burglarized until they can compile statistics next month.
"We're hoping the number is not high," said officer Johanna Abad, a Houston Police Department spokeswoman. "We know the strong police presence was there. And Chief (Harold Hurtt) came out and said looting will not be tolerated, and people were listening." Hurtt attributes higher-than-average arrest rates between Sept. 23 and 26 to an increased police presence. "Our capture rate for calls for burglary was high," he said. "At times, the police almost outnumbered the bad guys." Sheriff's Sgt. Richard Manning, who heads the burglary division for east Harris County, said the area of 162,000 people reported about 50 burglaries. The number is up 257 percent from the weekly average.
Manning suspects that many of the crimes may have been committed by neighbors. He hopes the sporadic burglaries will not keep residents from leaving when future evacuations are ordered. Scott Poland, head of the psychology department at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, said many of the burglaries were committed by "opportunistic people who had probably engaged in lawless acts before." His house in northwest Harris County was burglarized Sept. 21. Many residents of the Lakecrest Village Apartments at 9393 Tidwell in northeast Houston returned home this week to find that burglars had kicked in doors to take children's clothes and food, televisions and videogame consoles.
"We used our rent money to pay for gas and food to evacuate, and we come home to see our (televisions) had been stolen and our food eaten," Tameko Wilson said. She said apartment managers would not tell residents how many units were burglarized. TV news stations reported that as many as 33 units were broken into, but Abad said only six calls were made to the complex. Tameko Wilson doubts police were in her neighborhood because burglars had time to ransack multiple units, cook meals, drink beer and steal big items such as her 67-inch television. Wilson returned to find a police report in her apartments.
Manning and others urged caution when evaluating early crime statistics until each report can be investigated. "Some of the numbers, once we complete investigations, may come back as unfounded," he said.
Owning a gun would prevent burglary when you're not there ... how?
Sometimes - when a hurricane is on the way, for example - you have to decide whether you value your life more, or your stuff. And make sure you're adequately insured.
These people should not have a gun, they are not emotionally prepared to use it.
Of those arrested, how many were illegal aliens?
Like the "old" adage goes: A Conservative is a Liberal whos just been mugged.
I know what you're talking about..back in '80 the house was broken into 3 days before Christmas and for the next year, literally, I was up at every little sound and had my .45 with me..
Local cops say they suspect some other local, a neighbor.
But what I think these inexperienced-with-firearms folks should do is plan on moving to another rental really soon in another neighborhood. It would be very creepy to remain there with the knowledge that a neighbor was suspected of the burglary/ies.
On the other hand, coulda' just been a local from any "local" neighborhood taking advantage of the evacuation situation, as they did elsewhere...by remaining behind for purposes of stealing from the 'neighbors.'
I agree that these aren't the type of people who should rush out and buy a gun. Moving makes much more sense.
May just as well hang out a sign when they leave..."Looters welcome here".
Weigh that against an epitaph of "Too stupid to evacuate."
Some situations are a lose-lose, and that's just the way it is.
I can understand their feeling uncomfortable - I'd be nervous if I thought one of my neighbors was a thief, too! Well, maybe they are, and just not burglarizing our neighborhood at the moment ...
Here is more good coming out of Katrina. We heard, at the gun store here in L.A. last week, that there are a LOT of new people buying guns for self-protection for the first time -- because of the NO crime spree. There are going to be a LOT of Second Amendment Rights people for the libs to take guns away from, all over the country, I think.
Such stories of the local scum taking advantage of evacuations is just going to encourage folks to stick it out in storms instead of evacuating - and sitting it out ARMED.
And can anyone blame them? I know that life is more important than our "stuff" - but dang it - the police can't do anything about it.
Lol, I thought I was on DU for a minute with the rolling eyes image. The DUmmies use that around the clock.
The local looters in Lake Charles thought that they needed to loot an adult store to survive the storm ravages. I wonder what they will have to endure in prison for the next 15 years when they explain what they are in for.
The DA was on tv saying that every one of the looters they caught had a long history of crime. There will be no plea bargain, it's a major felony so they will have to serve in a real prison not the parish jails, they will also get hard labor.
socialist = democrats = looters, shouldn't that all be one word?
You loot, I shoot...
Agreed! I can buy more stuff. I cannot buy one second of life for my family. Sure, stuff is nice, but when you die it stays in this world. Thieves usually don't steal photo albums and other keepsakes. Grandma's crystal and great-grandpa's antique desk are worth a lot of money, sure , and would be missed. But I'll get new stuff to replace them and give to my kids........
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