Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager announced Wednesday that her office has filed 15 separate counts of looting thus far in wake of the state’s orders that many businesses close related to the Covid-19 scare.
Twelve of these counts are felonies against seven defendants in six separate cases. The remaining three counts are misdemeanor looting charges against three defendants in two separate cases. These cases were generated from arrests made by Modesto, Turlock and the Waterford police departments.
Fladager issued a warning for those who might be tempted to break into and steal goods from stores in Stanislaus County. Her press release issued Wednesday afternoon said that “anyone who commits a crime of burglary in the second degree, grand theft or petty theft in our county during the state of emergency could be charged with looting in violation of Penal Code §463. The District Attorney’s Office has been working closely with our local law enforcement agencies to address these types of crimes that have continued during this pandemic.”
A statewide emergency bail order was implemented by the California Judicial Council on April 6, which required bail to be set at zero dollars for a multitude of offenses, except for specified crimes. Looting is among those specified crimes. Anyone charged with looting will have to go before the court to address custody status and will not be automatically released on zero amount bail.
A conviction of looting must serve a mandatory minimum sentence of three to six months in jail and the court could impose an additional 80 to 240 hours of community service.
Also on Wednesday the Stanislaus County Health Department announced that Covid-19 cases in Stanislaus County rose to 95 with 1,980 negative tests. Ten of those patients are living in Ceres and 43 in Modesto. A total of 59 have been classified as “recovered” while 32 remain hospitalized. Nobody in the county has died thus far.