Looters in south-east Queensland are targeting flooded homes, businesses and schools as residents struggle with a growing flood disaster.
Queensland Police confirmed cases of more people targeting already vulnerable communities, with four schools in the town of Ipswich, west of Brisbane, broken into.
“So far we’ve had reports of electronic equipment like iPads and laptops, but also jewelery, cash, tools,” Detective Inspector David Briese from Queensland Police said.
He added teachers and students had returned to school in Ipswich to find ransacked classrooms and several items missing.
“We’re getting reports that at least four schools so far have been broken into, and again, electronic equipment, and the like have been stolen,” Inspector Briese said.
Several other families have returned to their homes after fleeing the floods to find they have been robbed.
“Some people have to leave in such a hurry that they were not able to lock and secure their homes … for the good of their family,” Inspector Briese said.
“Others have actually locked up, secured, and returned to find the doors kicked in..
“Now they have to fear, and some are finding, that when they’re going back, they’re finding that they’ve also been broken into and they have to contend with that.
One police intercept revealed a car full of camping gear and copper wire allegedly stolen from a local property.
“You name it and these people are finding it,” Inspector Briese said.
“The worst of people, who are taking advantage in the worst of times, of this situation for their own means … I can not fathom it, I do not understand.”
Those charged with looting during a natural disaster could face up to 10 years imprisonment.
Police are urging anyone with information regarding this behavior to come forward to police.
“Breaking the law, but more than that .. it’s just so un-human like, so un-Australian that people are doing this,” Inspector Briese said.
“If you think you know who it is, that are committing these offenses, that are preying on our community at this terrible time, please contact the police, please tell us who they are.
Before and after shots show flood devastation
“You’re not gambling in your mates, you’re gambling in people that none of us would want to be mates with.”