No one likes to think someone is taking advantage of storm victims. And the defendants are entitled to the benefit of the doubt and representation by an experienced Pratt City defense attorney. Confusion reigns after a natural disaster and unwarranted charges are not uncommon. Officials are attempting to force a curfew and neighbors and friends are trying to clear wreckage and get on with their lives.
Two defendants, ages 31 and 23, are charged with Unlawful Breaking and Entering a Vehicle after being accused of stealing from a vehicle on April 28. Two women, ages 28 and 29, are accused of attempting to remove items from a residence that same day and have been charged with burglary.
On May 2, a 48-year-old man was charged with burglary and receiving stolen property after police say he took property from a residence. And an unnamed suspect was taken into custody that same day after police say his vehicle was stopped and he was accused of taking items out of a neighborhood.
Pratt City is operating under an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.
In other cases, businesses are accused of jacking up the price of gasoline and the cost of hotel rooms, according to the Associated Press. In other areas, most notably Florida during the aftermath of devastating hurricanes, criminal charges have been brought against business owners for perceived fraud. Such fraud charges in Alabama must also be aggressively defended by business owners who are trying to protect their livelihood.
The reality is the vast majority of Alabama residents continue to work together to assist neighbors and friends with recovering from the devastation. Those accused of taking advantage of the situation are likely to face the wrath of the general public — perhaps unfairly. Each should be given the benefit of the doubt until and unless such charges are proven in a court of law.