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May 3, 2012
For More Information, contact:
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Suzanne Webb (334) 242-7351


Alabama Attorney


(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Luther Strange called today’s final passage of
HB 340 “a fitting tribute to the victims who suffered and struggled through the devastating
tornadoes that struck Alabama one year ago.” In the wake of the tragic tornadoes of last
year, Attorney General Strange advocated this tough law to specifically criminalize looting
and provide strong penalties.
Attorney General Strange commended the outstanding leadership of Representative
John Merrill and Senators Gerald Allen and Cam Ward for moving this through the
Legislature. The bill passed both houses of the Legislature with no dissenting votes.

“I am pleased that the Legislature 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 criminal activity that takes advantage of a tragedy by looting what may be
left of a business’s inventory or the belongings from someone’s home. It became all too
evident that Alabama needs a stronger law to protect our citizens at just such times when
they are suffering and vulnerable. This law will also apply in other times of emergency
such as the hurricanes that frequently strike our Gulf Coast. Our senators and
representatives have sent a strong and clear message to those who would prey on our
people at such times.”

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. Under previous law, Alabama has not
had a crime specific to looting, and the existing laws against burglary, theft and trespassing
have not been adequate to fight the looting that becomes epidemic during times of disaster.

The Attorney General’s legislation specifically criminalizes looting and makes 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 enters 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.
501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300