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Oklahoma lawmakers seek to increase looting penalties

Published: June 28, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Several state lawmakers want to increase the penalty for looting after numerous reports of theft from victims whose homes were damaged or destroyed in last month's tornadoes.

Legislators representing several areas hit by tornadoes in May said Friday that they plan to introduce a bill next session to change looting from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Under current law, illegally taking items from a disaster area is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison, a $3,000 fine or both.

Moore police say they made more than 35 arrests for looting in the wake of the May 20 tornado that ripped through that city and two Chickasha men were arrested earlier this week for taking scrap metal from a rural area near Newalla.