Federal authorities say Texas dealers lost nearly 100 guns to theft in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives supplemented the Houston Police Department with SRT agents this week at shops on the city’s north side and 1960 corridor, according to abc 13, where looters have been pillaging stores more often.
So far, the agency said three dealers reported a total of 97 firearms stolen in the days after Harvey –a category four hurricane with top wind speeds of 130 miles per hour — slammed into Texas’s southeastern coast, dumping more than four feet of rain from Corpus Christi to Houston as it stalled over the region for five long days. Unprecedented flooding in Houston displaced more than 30,000 residents and at least 60 deaths have been blamed on the storm.
ATF released disaster preparedness precautions for federally licensed firearms dealers the day Harvey struck, warning dealers to relocate guns, ammo and important paperwork to a safer, drier location.
At least 40 people have been arrested, so far, for looting. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said criminals will face harsher penalties for stealing in the wake of the storm and exploiting the city’s emergency circumstances. A midnight to 5 a.m. curfew has been implemented until further notice.
“This is the state of Texas,” Acevedo said last week. “We are a welcoming city, but we are not going to tolerate people victimizing others.”
“Don’t come to Houston because you’re going to be caught,” he added. “That’s despicable behavior.”