Houston police chief warns would-be robbers: ‘Don’t come to Houston because you’re going to be caught’
Chris Tycksen (HOUSTON) — Houston’s police chief is urging potential robbers to stay out of the city, promising to catch any criminals and “seek the fullest prosecution possible available.”
Armed robbers and looters have been arrested amid the devastation left behind by Hurricane Harvey, Police Chief Art Acevedo said.
Acevedo said at a news conference Tuesday that while Houston police have made over 3,500 rescues since the storm tore through the Houston area this weekend, causing at least eight deaths, wiping out homes and forcing evacuations, the department is still operating as a law enforcement agency and will not tolerate people victimizing others.
“This is the state of Texas. We’re a welcoming city, but we are not going to tolerate people victimizing, especially committing armed robberies in our community,” the police chief said. “We’re going to catch you, and I promise you this: We are going to push hard — I’ve talked to the district attorney — to seek the fullest prosecution possible available for any crime that is committed.”
The police chief added, “Secondly, we’re going to urge juries and judges to give you the toughest sentence that you can possibly get.”
“So word to the wise: Don’t come to Houston,” he said, “because you’re going to be caught. And I guarantee you when you take advantage of people and prey on them in these circumstances, that’s despicable behavior and we’re all going to push hard to make sure you don’t see the sunlight anytime soon.”
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release on Tuesday that 14 looters arrested in the past two days “will face stiffer punishments under a Texas law providing heftier penalties during a crisis.”
“Under Texas law, punishment increases for crimes such as assault, robbery, burglary and theft if they are committed in a county declared a disaster area by the governor,” the press release said. “Burglarizing a home would normally bring a penalty of two to 20 years in prison, but now brings five years to life.”
“People displaced or harmed in this storm are not going to be easy prey,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in the press release. “Anyone who tries to take advantage of this storm to break into homes or businesses should know that they are going to feel the full weight of the law.”
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