Lawmakers want to increase punishment for looters in South Carolina

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, SC (WCBD) – Charges may soon be more severe for anyone caught stealing during a State of Emergency declaration in South Carolina.

That bill, which will be introduced in the State House, would change a felony looting charge already in place – which right now does not have a minimum sentence.

It would change that to first-degree burglary, which carries a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

One of the bill’s sponsors says we’re seeing more and more looting during flooding events, including after the historic flooding in 2015 and Hurricane Matthew.

“People’s possessions were in their front yards, just drying out or they were trying to figure something out to do with them,” said Rep. Russell Fry of Horry County. “They wake up the next morning and their possessions that were on their porch are gone too.”

We’re told right now South Carolina is one of a handful of states that has specific looting laws.

The legislation would apply to both businesses and homes.

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