Sandy Prompts Bill To Increase Looting Penalties

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. November 15, 2012

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Senator Kevin O'Toole (photo by Phil Gregory)

Some New Jersey lawmakers are introducing legislation in response to looting in towns where residents were evacuated because of Hurricane Sandy.

A measure proposed by three Republican lawmakers would increase penalties for looting, robbery, and trespassing committed during a state of emergency.

Senator Kevin O’Toole says the looting at storm-damaged homes added to evacuees’ distress.

“In our state’s most fragile and difficult moments people were losing their homes, their entire properties, their estates, and they were going to pick like vultures in their homes and take out some jewelry and some appliances. It’s really despicable.”

Democratic Senator Barbara Buono is proposing similar legislation.

Senate Law and Public Safety Committee chairman Donald Norcross says laws already on the books need to be enforced.

“Looting is already a crime but if you’re the one who’s a victim you want your elected officials to do something about it. What we’re going to do is hold hearings and find out if there are issues or gaps in those laws that we need to address and if there are gaps certainly we will address it.”


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