Looters target Panhandle homes destroyed by Hurricane Michael

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say they’re arresting about 10 suspected looters a night in an area of the Florida Panhandle left in the dark since Hurricane Michael crashed ashore a week ago.

Bay County Sheriff’s Maj. Jimmy Stanford tells the News Herald that looters have targeted homes and businesses and they’re almost always armed.

Victoria Smith says thieves entered her powerless townhome while she and her four children were sleeping with the front door open and snatched her purse, which she was clutching to her chest. She said she was so exhausted she didn’t even hear them.

In some areas of the county, spray-painted signs warn “Looters will be shot.”

Stanford says it’s been a stressful time for officers, many of whom lost their homes but are working 16 hour shifts. He says the influx of resources and officers from other areas will help quell the lawlessness.

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