Local law enforcement has arrested approximately 30 people after a rash of looting and thefts throughout Bloomington and Normal, according to an article by The Pantagraph. Many of these individuals face felony charges for looting, mob action, and various other offenses.
These criminal incidents occurred after countless droves engaged in non-violent demonstrations in protest of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police officers. Taking advantage of overwhelmed law enforcement agencies, there was widespread looting and burglary at various stores and commercial businesses.
According to official statements, law enforcement arrested more than 20 people in the immediate aftermath of the looting. More recently, law enforcement arrested another six people in connection with a specific looting incident. The authorities have already filed preliminary charges against many of these alleged criminal actors.
Although the criminal charges vary greatly from person to person, two of the most common charges were looting and mob action. To better understand these criminal offenses, it will be helpful to review several Illinois statutes.
The Illinois laws against and penalties for looting appear in 720 ILCS 5/25-4. This section makes it unlawful to knowingly and without legal authority:
- Enter another person’s residential home or dwelling; or
- Enter another person’s commercial property or establishment; and
- Take advantage of decreased security due to hurricane, fire, or similarly disruptive event; and
- Exert unauthorized control over another person’s property.
Any person who commits looting in violation of Section 25-4 is guilty of a Class 4 felony. If convicted, the statutory punishment includes one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in criminal fines.
The Illinois laws against and penalties for mob action appear in 720 ILCS 5/25-1. This section makes it unlawful for two or more people to:
- Knowingly or recklessly use force or violence to disturb the peace without legal justification;
- Knowingly assemble with the intent to commit or facilitate a felony or misdemeanor offense; or
- Knowingly assemble with the intent of committing vigilante justice or similar actions.
The penalty structure for committing mob action fluctuates based on the circumstances of the underlying offense. Mob actions involving force or violence are typically a Class 4 felony, with the same statutory punishment outlined in the previous section.
On the other hand, individuals assembling with an intent to commit further action usually face Class C misdemeanor charges. If convicted, the statutory punishment includes a maximum of 30 days in jail and fines up to $1,500.
Do You Need Legal Help?
No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing an online form.