March 2nd, 2010
03:16 PM ET

O'Brien: In Chile, looters are leaving the biggest aftershocks

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/americas/03/01/chile.earthquake.obrien/story.chile.looters.one.cnn.jpg caption="A soldier guards a looted mall on a main street in Concepcion, Chile, on Monday." width=300 height=169]

Soledad O'Brien and Rose Arce

The drive into Concepcion couldn't have been more dramatic. We turned the corner through a dense morning fog onto a main street and a small crowd moved into the streets against traffic. It's just two days after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake toppled walls and collapsed buildings, but people are looting.

Young men ducked beneath gates and smashed windows, yanking out boxes holding appliances and grabbing cell phones and clothes. Grown women slid between window bars and ran down streets with bags full of booty.

A large green military truck with a hose bore down on the crowd using pressurized water to deter the crowd, but soldiers patrolling with big guns did nothing to stop looters on the streets. The looting was so out of control at La Flor clothing store that a fire broke out, and clouds of black smoke filled the sky. The firefighters couldn't even fight the fire because they were too busy with the search and rescue operation.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Chile Earthquake • Soledad O'Brien
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