California prosecutors say they will seek the stiffest possible sentences against people charged with looting homes during the recent wildfires that swept through Southern California, the Los Angeles Times says. Five suspects were arrested in San Bernardino County, and one man was arrested in San Diego County.
“We don’t have any sympathy for these people,” said prosecutor Marc Guillory in San Bernardino County. “It’s shameful that people would take advantage of a life-and-death situation and force officers who could’ve helped in saving homes or evacuations to risk their own lives to apprehend these looters.”
One unit of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has taken an estimated 45 calls from mountain residents reporting missing property or signs of a break-in. The five suspects in San Bernardino County are accused of burglarizing homes shortly after the wildfires tore through city neighborhoods.
“We’re going to prosecute these cases like we would any other [burglary] case, but the fact that it happened during an emergency will likely have a strong impact on the public, and I’m sure the judge will consider that fact once it comes time for sentencing,” Guillory said.