So why do I describe it as looting?
RCMP revealed Thursday that officers have seized a “substantial amount” of firearms from homes in the evacuated town of High River.
“We just want to make sure that all of those things are in a spot that we control, simply because of what they are,” said Sgt. Brian Topham.
“People have a significant amount of money invested in firearms ... so we put them in a place that we control and that they’re safe.”
First, they are not letting residents back in to collect their property:
Second, they broke into homes to obtain the firearms:
About 30 RCMP officers set up a blockade at the checkpoint, preventing 50 residents from walking into the town. Dozens more police cars, lights on, could be seen lining streets in the town on standby.Officers laid down a spike belt to stop anyone from attempting to drive past the blockade.
Third, they didn't record what firearms came from which homes, and will require the rightful owners to prove that they own a particular firearm:
Sgt. Topham ... did confirm that officer relied on forced entry to get into numerous houses during the early stages of the flood because of an “urgent need”....
Police are no longer forcing themselves into homes and the residences that were forced open will be secured, he said.
In other words, if an owner can't prove it is theirs, the cops will get to keep it. They should be charged with burglary and/or receiving or transporting stolen goods.
“We have seized a large quantity of firearms simply because they were left by residents in their places,” said Topham.
The guns will be returned to owners after residents are allowed back in town and they provide proof of ownership, Topham added.
Short lesson, if you have to evacuate, take your guns with you.
Update (June 29, 2013): An op-ed at Canada's National Post indicates that the RCMP keep changing their story about their looting.