This article was updated, as two more people were arrested for looting Sunday night. See update at the bottom of article.
The report of looting in evacuated zones during the devastating Carr Fire is shocking. While 40,000 people are running for their lives, losing their homes and family members, some people rise to the occasion, donating money, water and time to help these people in need.
Other people, whom I like to refer to as the “Scum of the Earth,” actually have the thought “Let’s go steal their stuff!”
“We’re seeing it several reports a day of people in neighborhoods, people driving through neighborhoods going around our roadblocks, shouldering doors, getting into residences that quite, maybe not, haven’t been burnt, and so they are looking to steal items from the residence,” said Redding Police Chief Roger Moore.
There have now been three people arrested on suspicion of attempted looting:
Redding Police arrested Mitchell B. Stuebgen around 10:45 p.m. on Saturday night after finding him in an evacuated part of Lake Boulevard. Stuebgen was found wearing camouflage and carrying a loaded handgun, a billy club, nunchucks and a concealed dagger.
Then two more people were arrested on suspicion of looting in evacuated areas. 19-year-old Jack Fannin and 25-year-old Jade Ball were arrested on suspicion of looting on Quartz Hill Road, when a homeowner flagged down a nearby police officer, claiming he found fresh footprints and drops of water in his house. The officers investigated the claim and found some electronics “stacked and staged” in front of the home. They found the two at a nearby house along with evidence linking them to the burglary.
Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko has said that the people arrested for looting will be prosecuted “in a very public way.” Unfortunately, as the law says, these people will only be prosecuted for normal burglary crimes. But let’s be honest, these burglary crimes are worse than others. Stealing from fire victims who have no way of protecting their precious belongings is incomprehensible.
In some neighborhoods, people have posted signs warning potential looters that their actions may prove to be a dangerous endeavor:
Let’s be honest – these looters should be publicly bound and whipped in front of the entire community. They should be branded with a large “L” on their body to show the world their true character. They should always be known as the scum that they truly are.
As the fire slows down and containment improves, neighborhoods are now being heavily patrolled by police officers, including about 260 National Guard soldiers. Hopefully, these patrollers along with the very public humiliation of being labeled a looter will stop these would-be thieves. But we all know the Scum of the Earth will be there no matter what.
Maybe some public floggings will make them rethink their life choices.
Update: This morning, Redding Police Department announced they arrested two more individuals: