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People are impersonating Homeland Security special agents and telling residents to evacuate in order to ransack their homes in a sinister twist to Tropical Storm Harvey that has left at least 18 people dead.
An overnight curfew has been imposed in Houston after a spate of robberies and looting.
City officials announced the midnight to 5am clampdown after police arrested a crew of armed robbers who were hijacking vehicles and reports of thefts from some of the thousands of homes that lay partially underwater and abandoned by fleeing residents.
They warned people to ask anyone knocking on their doors for official badges and credentials with their name and organization.
San Leon volunteer firefighter Jody Garcia told the Houston Chronicle that one person posing as a first responder pointed a shotgun at two residents who were trapped in their homes and told them to leave.