Looting taking a toll in tornado damaged Tuscaloosa

Janette Bentley stands near an uprooted tree in front of her home on Veterans Memorial Parkway after a tornado went through Friday, April 15, 2011, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. An apparent tornado damaged a motel in Tuscaloosa and struck an oil change business, blowing the plastic out of large signs and leaving roads crisscrossed with power poles and trees in places.
Michelle Lepianka Carter,AP/The Tuscaloosa News
Looting a big problem in tornado damaged Tuscaloosa
This image shows damage from a tornado that hit Tuscaloosa
Ala.,City of Tuscaloosa

(CBS/WKRG/AP) TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Looting has become a serious problem in Tuscaloosa's storm-damaged communities.

According to CBS affiliate WKRG, police and National Guard troops are closely patrolling the streets, but say they can't keep every looter away from homes and businesses.

Several looting arrests have already been made and Attorney General Luther Strange said the cases will be taken seriously.

"I was just talking to an officer here in this area where we are, and they caught a guy stealing some goods out of a person's house 10 minutes ago in this location," Strange said Sunday. "That person has been arrested and we have made it clear that we are going to make prosecuting looters a high priority, hopefully discouraging people from coming to this area, and that's one of our missions."

Police say people are stealing anything they can get their hands on from homes and businesses.

The station reports that an 8 p.m. curfew is in effect in the city's storm damaged communities.