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Looters impersonating ICE agents in order to steal from Houston homes, agency says

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Posted at 12:46 PM, Aug 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-30 13:46:23-04

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it has received reports of people in the Houston area impersonating ICE agents in order to loot homes.

The impersonators allegedly are urging Houston residents to abandon their homes. Once the residents leave, the impersonators loot the abandoned homes.

In a statement released on Wednesday, urged Houston residents to ask alleged Homeland Security Investigators to show their badges and credentials if they arrive at their homes.

They also urged residents to immediately contact the agency should the find anyone impersonating an ICE agent at 866-347-2423.

ICE's full statement can be read below.

There are disturbing reports that people impersonating Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents are knocking on doors in the Houston area telling residents to evacuate -- presumably so these imposters can rob the empty homes. Real HSI officials wear badges that are labeled "special agent," which members of the public can ask to see and verify. ICE officers with Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) also wear badges labeled with ERO Officer. They also carry credentials with their name and organization.

Members of the public who receive such visitors should ask to see these properly labeled badges, and their credentials.

In addition, these officers and special agents would be conducting hurricane relief operations with other local law enforcement agencies.

Also note that during Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is not conducting immigration enforcement operations in the affected area.

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.