Plundering Corona-style: Suspected looters in California pictured in face masks
At least they’re taking precautions.
Police in Santa Cruz, Calif., posted photos of alleged looters who appeared to be wearing face masks at the time of their arrest while the city was under a shelter-in-place order.
Some of the health-conscious suspects were nabbed wearing the now-ubiquitous surgical masks that help protect against the spread of the new coronavirus.
The U.K’s Sun newspaper reported that five alleged looters were nabbed in Santa Cruz, Calif., while the city is under a mandatory stay-at-home order. Police released photos from the arrest that showed some of the suspects wearing the masks.
They were first going to be charged with burglary, but the charges have been upgraded to looting. A police spokesman said that they are looking into as many charges as possible.
South Carolina also reported the arrests of suspected looters. Two men were charged in York County with looting, The Rock Hill Herald reported.
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The suspects were identified as Ronald Nicholas Miller, 26, and Justin Andrew Osczepinski, 30. Both men are from North Carolina. They were found outside a storage center and deputies said they recovered a stolen truck and other items.
The report pointed out that looting became a felony after S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency. Crimes committed during such times usually come with stiffer penalties.
Police departments across the country have been stretched thin due to officers coming down with the virus and responding to other various emergency calls. Many states have issued stay-at-home orders and businesses have been closed for weeks.
Desolate streets and empty stores are obviously vulnerable to looters.
“There is a state of emergency law in effect and this looting incident was charged under that emergency law,” Trent Faris, spokesman for the York County Sheriff’s Office, told The Herald. “The law is in place to protect the public and their property during this emergency.”