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DA: shocked, not surprised by blizzard looting

WBEN Radio Buffalo logo WBEN Radio Buffalo 1/10/2023 Tom Puckett

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) During the December blizzard, roughly two dozen people were arrested on charges of looting. Erie County's top prosecutor says he's shocked but not surprised.

Erie County DA John Flynn says when he served in the Navy in Florida, he lived through several hurricanes, and there was looting in those cases. That's why he's not surprised, but he is shocked. "I'm shocked by it, in the sense that it upsets me. That's the that's the genesis of my shock is that I'm upset by this because I just can't get it through my mind that people do this," says Flynn.

Flynn says those accused are not accused of taking necessities. "You had one arraignment last week that was $2,700 in cash, and various electronic items. Another is accused of stealing thousands in shoes was arraigned today, you have food products that are being stolen," says Flynn. He says he would treat a case differently if it were a matter of a mother stealing baby formula for her child. "Those are apples and oranges situations. But unfortunately, we haven't had any where people have gone in and allegedly stolen baby formula. They are all not necessity items on top of the damage that was done," says Flynn.

Flynn says the penalty can depend on how much money was stolen. "The amount of the dollar amount of the of the items stolen is going to depend on the larceny charge, the burglary charge is going to be a D felony, which is up to seven years. If there's any property damage, then there's going to be a criminal mischief charge with that," adds Flynn.

Flynn's message is simple: "If you loot, and you get caught, you are going to prosecute the full extent of the law."


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