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March 22, 2012
For More Information, contact:
Luther Strange
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Alabama Attorney General
Suzanne Webb (334) 242-7351
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(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Luther Strange announced that the
Alabama Senate today approved another bill in his legislative package – SB 302 which
creates the crime of looting. SB 302 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa
and passed the Senate on a 25-0 vote. It now goes to the House for consideration.
Earlier this week the House of Representatives passed HB 340 (the companion bill to SB
302) on a 102-0 vote. HB 340 is sponsored by Rep. John Merrill of Tuscaloosa and was
today referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for inclusion on its agenda.
“I am pleased that the House and now the Senate has acted to protect
Alabamians in these times of severe disaster and crisis,” said Attorney General Strange.
“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.”

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.

Attorney General Strange developed this legislation based on discussions within
the Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Advisory Committee and the law officers’
recommendations for better tools to combat looting.
501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300