On Thursday, March 25th, two suspects were arrested by Kern County deputies as they attempted to burglarize a business. The call for a burglary in progress came in at around 6:50 am and deputies were dispatched to the location. Once they arrived, they discovered two suspects, S. Hasty and C. Rodriguez, attempting to rob the business. They were arrested and booked into the Kern County Jail on several charges, including burglary, conspiracy, vandalism, burglary during a state of emergency, and possessing burglary tools.

Burglary during a state of emergency is covered under California Penal Code 463 PC, California’s looting laws, and is described as taking advantage of a state of emergency in order to commit burglary, grand theft, or petty theft. A state of emergency can be declared by the Governor of the state or a local governing body, and are generally declared in response to:

  • Flooding
  • Severe Earthquake
  • Riots
  • Wildfires
  • Storms or other severe weather

The penalties for looting depend on the type of crime that was committed during the state of emergency. Burglary during a state of emergency is a “wobbler” in California Law, meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history. For misdemeanors, the potential penalty includes up to 1 year in county jail. For a felony offense, the potential penalty includes 16 months to 3 years in jail.

The other seldom-charged crime is conspiracy, which is covered under California Penal Code 182 PC and described as a scenario in which one or more people conspire to commit a crime, and one or more of the parties commits an act to further that agreement. Conspiracy is also a “wobbler,” and is typically charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the underlying crime.  Most penalties include significant jail time and fines.