Scavengers leave flood victims with big curbside mess

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Residents in Meyerland say people are ripping apart their trash in search for items thrown out after last week's flood (KTRK)

If you are among the thousands of people who suffered damages from recent floodwaters, you might also have seen people picking through your trash.

According to the Harris County District Attorney's Office, this is not illegal if the items are curbside, on a public sidewalk. If you drove through the flood zones on Monday, you'd see scavengers stopping to look through the debris piles.

Brian Baltuskonis told us he is simply looking for valuable metals that he might be able to exchange for cash. In fact, he sees his efforts here as beneficial to the flood victims, saying he is helping them with trash removal.

"It helps pick up a little bit of stuff that's out here," he says.

Some though say some of the scavengers have been too aggressive.

"If youre here for opportunity, please leave. These neighbors need help right now. They don't need another problem to deal with," says Matt Murphy, who is helping organize a group of people who live outside the flood zone to come in and act as a temporary neighborhood watch group.

Murphy says they want to patrol the streets and look for people who might be crossing a line between scavenging and looting.

"Something has to be done," he says.

The Houston Police Department says it has not received a single report of looting. The DA's office says theft charges are considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you need flood assistance, there's help available to you.
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