Looter sentenced to 20 years in prison for stealing TVs, cigarettes during Harvey


HOUSTON – A 38-year-old man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for stealing thousands of dollars' worth of TVs and tobacco products from an area Walmart during Hurricane Harvey.

PHOTOS: 20 people accused of looting during Hurricane Harvey

Thomas Gamelin was sentenced by State District Judge Brad Hart for stealing TVs and cigarettes while the store on Silber Road was closed because of the storm.

He was on parole for a drug conviction at the time of the looting.

“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. “While so many people were coming together to help others, Thomas Gamelin was off on his own, looting.”

While Gamelin was committing the crime, a Houston police officer driving by the store saw the van Gamelin used to smash open the cart doorway.

The officer also saw Gamelin carrying a TV. Gamelin was also seen on surveillance cameras.

The total value of the stolen items was over $5,200.

Gamelin was arrested and charged with burglary of a building. He was convicted by a jury after a two-day trial, which ended Wednesday. The judge then issued his sentence.

A map of the reported lootings during Harvey is below: