World News

Thieves targeted Grenfell Tower wreck after London fire disaster

Posted September 19, 2017 10:07 a.m. EDT

Police investigating the Grenfell Tower fire disaster in London have revealed that thieves stole cash from at least one of the apartments in the shell of the building.

In a briefing to journalists, police said there were three other possible thefts, and apologized for the fact that despite round-the-clock security, thieves were still able to gain access.

"I thought that 24/7 security would be sufficient and it has't been. I apologize for that," said Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack of London's Metropolitan Police. She didn't say how much cash was involved, but admitted it was a considerable amount.

The offenses came to light recently when owners were allowed back into the lesser damaged properties in the lower floors of the buildings to collect belongings.

Police said they are also investigating eight cases in which people may have fraudulently claimed money following the disaster. Two people have so far been charged.

As the search continues for remains of people who died in the blaze, 60 of the victims have now been fully identified to the satisfaction of the coroner, police said. The smallest remains found have been children's teeth.

"I still think (the death toll) will be about 80 ... I think that may come down -- a little bit," said Commander Stuart Cundy.

Detective Chief Inspector. Matt Bonner said the investigation could result in manslaughter charges, but a decision would not be made for some time due to the complexity of the investigation.

"The kind of stuff I would envisage we may come across would involve offenses perhaps of fraud, misconduct offenses, health-and-safety breaches, breaches of fire-safety regulations and, of course, offenses of manslaughter, whether that be on a corporate or an individual level," he said.

The criminal investigation into the causes of the fire includes examination of 31 million documents from companies that could have had a hand in the construction and refurbishment of the 24-story tower, which consisted mainly of public housing.