Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo is warning looters and robbers that his officers are not too busy with flood response to head off criminal activity.
Chief Acevedo said that the department has arrested 14 suspects who have been charged with looting and robbery in the flood ravaged city, ABC 13 reported.
The Chief reported arresting several looters at a local Game Stop outlet as well as an armed crew victimizing people on the streets.
If convicted, those arrested could face heavier than average sentences due to laws that provide stiffer penalties for such crimes committed during a crisis. The average penalty for home invasions or robberies is two to 20 years, but under crisis conditions, the penalties jump to five years to life.
Chief Acevedo warned lawbreakers that the city would not “tolerate people victimizing others.”
The chief also had a message for any outsiders thinking they could find easy pickings in Houston.
“Don’t come to Houston, because you’re going to be caught,” Acevedo insisted. “That’s despicable behavior.”
The department’s warning to lawbreakers comes a day after members of the “Cajun Navy” decided to withdraw after taking gunfire when they arrived to help rescue people in Houston.
Members of the Louisiana Cajun Navy who gathered to help storm victims in Houston were ordered to stand down from rescue efforts after members were shot at during an attempted robbery on Monday.
The Louisianans reported that no one was injured by the gunfire.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.