Looter gets 20 years for stealing $5,228 of TVs, cigarettes during Hurricane Harvey

PHOTO: People make their way through a flooded street during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Aug. 29, 2017, in Houston. PlayBrendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
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A man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for looting over $5,000 worth of TVs and cigarettes during Hurricane Harvey.

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Thomas Gamelin, 38, was arrested and charged with burglary of a building after a Houston police unit was driving by a Walmart on Aug. 29, four days after Harvey roared ashore in Texas as a Category 4 storm. The storm hovered over Houston for days, dumping record-breaking rainfall on the city.

Officers saw Gamelin carrying a television out of the store. He was also captured on the store’s surveillance cameras.

PHOTO: People walk through the flooded waters of Telephone Rd. in Houston on Aug. 27, 2017, as the city battles with tropical storm Harvey and resulting floods. Thomas B. Shea/AFP via Getty Images
People walk through the flooded waters of Telephone Rd. in Houston on Aug. 27, 2017, as the city battles with tropical storm Harvey and resulting floods.

“Our city was in the midst of the worst natural disaster in its history, and the defendant saw that as the perfect opportunity to take advantage and try to make a profit,” Assistant District Attorney Joshua Raygor said in a statement. “While so many people were coming together to help others, Thomas Gamelin was off on his own looting.”

PHOTO: In this Sept. 26, 2017 photo, workers continue clearing debris from the home of Houston resident Chris Slaughter, whose house in the suburb of Kingwood Texas was flooded by 5 1/2 feet of water during Harveys torrential rainfall. Juan Lozano/AP, FILE
In this Sept. 26, 2017 photo, workers continue clearing debris from the home of Houston resident Chris Slaughter, whose house in the suburb of Kingwood Texas was flooded by 5 1/2 feet of water during Harvey's torrential rainfall.

After a two-day trial, Gamelin was convicted by a jury. Since Gamelin was on parole for a drug conviction at the time of the incident, the judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

The stolen items were valued at $5,228.

PHOTO: People wait in line to buy groceries at a Food Town during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
People wait in line to buy groceries at a Food Town during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas.