A WECT-6 News reporter has caught huge numbers of local residents openly looting a “Family Dollar” store in the wake of Hurricane Florence. The shocking footage showed several people in Wilmington, North Carolina, dashing into the store before emerging with massive bags full of stolen goods.
Hurricane Florence has ripped through the city, causing widespread flooding, sparking desperation and lawlessness among the population. According to the BBC, around 400 people have been rescued from the floodwaters, and a mother and her seven-month-old child have are reported to have been killed by a falling tree in the city. In addition, most of the city remains without power at this time.
CAUGHT LOOTING: This video shows a reporter from an NBC affiliate confront looters at a Family Dollar store in North Carolina after Florence rolled through the area. Police say five people were arrested, "despite initial concerns from the store management." wfla.com/1448842846
Posted by WFLA News Channel 8 on Saturday, September 15, 2018
Police have asked local residents to watch the footage captured by WFLA and report any individuals they are able to identify.
“Sir, you know you’re looting, right? And that’s illegal,” the reporter says as she confronts one of the thieves. The man simply ignores the journalist and keeps walking.
You can see here inside just a complete mess, people taking duffel bags and trash bags, now noticing we’re here [and] running away from the camera,” the reporter, Chelsea Donovan, continued.
After providing an inside-look at the chaos unfolding in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, Donovan said the situation soon felt dangerous, and she had to retreat to her vehicle for safety.
“I was concerned the whole time. I won’t lie, but I was there to get the story,” she said, as reported by Daily Mail.
Police noted that they will do everything in their power to prosecute the offenders, but noted on Twitter that they were asked to hold back from entering the store by its management.
NEWS ALERT – We are aware of the looting occurring at the Family Dollar Store at 13th & Greenfield Sts, unfortunately management has asked not to intervene at this time.
— Wilmington Police (@WilmingtonPD) September 15, 2018
“We’re going to do everything we can to protect your property. This is not a response to the video. This has been our message [since] before the storm arrived,” the Wilmington Police Department said in a statement following the incident.
JUST IN: We've received reports of looting at the Family Dollar near 13th and Greenfield streets. Wilmington police say they are aware and were asked by management to not intervene. pic.twitter.com/4kjtF7VYt5
— WECT News (@wectnews) September 15, 2018
On Sunday, Board of Commissioners chairman Woody White announced that there is officially zero access to Wilmington at this time due to the extensive flooding. “Do not come here,” he said.
It’s nearly impossible to get in or out of Wilmington, N.C. right now b/c of rising floodwater. We saw “William”, who’s been stuck in his big rig since this AM. He had food & water but no cell service. He asked us to call his wife. We called her & 911 to give them his location. pic.twitter.com/4psbL9NdU2
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) September 16, 2018
“Our roads are flooded, there is no access into Wilmington…We want you home, but you can’t come yet.”
Some areas of North Carolina have experienced as much as 40 inches of rainfall since Florence reached the east coast last Friday.
— Reed Timmer (@ReedTimmerAccu) September 16, 2018
“The storm has never been more dangerous than it is right now,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said on Sunday.
“Wherever you live in North Carolina, be alert for sudden flooding.”