HOUSTON - Police warned looters Monday to stay away from flood-hit Houston, after four would-be thieves were arrested since the city was hit by Hurricane Harvey.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, in announcing the arrests, said his officers were on the lookout for people who "move in from around other states and even other cities in other regions to loot and create problems."
"If you try to commit a criminal offense or especially try to take advantage of our citizens that have already been victimized enough by Mother Nature, you can be assured you'll be arrested," Acevedo said.
The fourth largest US metropolis was deluged by a powerful hurricane Friday and Saturday.
But while Harvey has been downgraded to a tropical storm, it continues to dump historic amounts of rainfall on coastal Texas, taxing police and emergency services to the limit.
The city was expanding its resources including law enforcement as it braced for more days of heavy rain, he added.
Rising floodwaters have already prompted tens of thousands of evacuations and at least 2,000 rescues, according to authorities.
Thousands of Texas families and businesses were expected to need disaster assistance in the aftermath of the storm.
Looting became a problem in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated parts of New Orleans, in neighboring Louisiana.
© Agence France-Presse