Firefighters throughout the state of California continue to battle against numerous wildfires. While the raging flames are the main concern, law enforcement officials are also worried about looters taking advantage of evacuation zones. Over the weekend of November 10th and 11th, two suspects were taken into custody for attempting to loot homes. On top of these incidents, there have been at least 53 reports of the crime over the past three days.
According to police reports, two men were spotted attempting to impersonate U.S. Forest Service officials in order to gain access to Paradise, a city that has been decimated by the fires. Both suspects were caught wearing yellow jackets that closely resembled the outfits worn by actual forest service authorities. Authorities strongly suspect both men were planning on burglarizing evacuated homes and looting any goods they could find. Once the men were inside the secured evacuation area, they were both taken into police custody. In response to the arrests, Kory Honea, a Butte County Sheriff, noted that any looters who are caught would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. No further details regarding the looting activity have been released yet.
As a result of the looting problem, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department will be increasing the police presence in areas that may be vulnerable to this type of crime. The Department explained in a statement, “people found in areas where they do not belong will be contacted by law enforcement and may be arrested.”