Reports of Looting After Plant Explosion Disturb Officers

Thursday, Apr 18, 2013  |  Updated 10:52 AM PDT
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Waco police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton confirmed one isolated incident of looting after the West fertilizer plant explosion.

NBC 5

Waco police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton confirmed one isolated incident of looting after the West fertilizer plant explosion.

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Authorities say they've received reports of looting in the aftermath of the catastrophic fertilizer plant explosion that's killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160.

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said reports of "a small amount of looting" in the neighborhoods surrounding the West Fertilizer Co. are disturbing and that law enforcement will do whatever it takes to protect the people, and their property, in the community.

Swanton said it's too early to estimate the number of looters but said the reports are "a significant concern to us."

He didn't know if arrests had been made, as the focus of emergency responders is search and rescue. Swanton said at least one person suspected of being a looter was seen running from a damaged home.

In a news conference at 10 a.m., Swanton said only law enforcement and emergency responders are being allowed into the neighborhoods at this time.

Responders are concentrating on a "hard, gut-wrenching job" and Swanton said despite looting reports, "West has seen a tremendous outpouring of support."

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