By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) announced that the Alabama Senate had passed bill SB 302, which makes looting a crime in Alabama. Attorney General Strange said, “When people are experiencing destruction of property, serious injuries and perhaps even the loss of loved ones, it has been appalling to see criminals take advantage of a tragedy by looting.” SB 302 is part of a legislative package requested by the attorney general.
Attorney General Strange said, “”I am pleased that the House and now the Senate has acted to protect Alabamians in these times of severe disaster and crisis.” “When people are experiencing destruction of property, serious injuries and perhaps even the loss of loved ones, it has been appalling to see criminals take advantage of a tragedy by looting what may be left of a business’s inventory or the belongings from someone’s home. It has become all too evident that Alabama needs a stronger law to protect our citizens at just such times when they are suffering and vulnerable. The law we offer would apply in times of emergency such as following the devastating tornadoes recently experienced by our state and the hurricanes that frequently strike our Gulf Coast. I commend both Senator Allen and Representative John Merrill for their hard work in the successful passage of these bills out of their respective chambers. Both bills are in excellent position for final passage when the legislature returns from spring break.”
SB 302 is part of a legislative package requested by the Attorney General. Attorney General Strange developed the legislation following discussions within the Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Advisory Committee and the law officers’ recommendations. Looting was a major problem following the April 27th tornados.
AL AG Strange’s press release said, “Senate bill 302 and House bill 340 specifically criminalize looting and make it a class C felony, which is punishable by one to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000. “A person commits the crime of looting if the person intentionally injures without authorization any building or real property during a state of emergency and obtains, exerts control over, damages, or removes the property of another person without lawful authority.” It also is specified that a person subject to prosecution for looting still may be prosecuted for other applicable offenses. This law would apply when the Governor has proclaimed an official state of emergency.”
The anti-looting bill, SB 302, is sponsored by Senator Gerald Allen (R) from Tuscaloosa. SB 302 passed in the Alabama Senate by a margin of 25-0. Last week the Alabama House of Representatives passed HB 340 by a margin of 102 to 0 vote. Rep. John Merrill (R) from Tuscaloosa is the sponsor of HB 340 in the House. SB 302 now goes to the Alabama House of Representatives for consideration.
To read AG Strange’s press release in its entirety: