Flood-ravaged Queenslanders have been dealt another savage blow as thieves strike before many can return to their homes.
Looters have been reported in boats and canoes. Some have even come prepared with trailers to pick through the ruins of people's lives.
Five people have now been charged as police step up patrols to deter thieves.
Reports of looting have infuriated a community reeling from devastating floods that have so far claimed nine lives and left a trail of devastation expected to cost billions of dollars.
While Queensland's "mud army 2.0" is out in force, it has not stopped opportunistic looters picking through the devastation, prompting police to step up patrols.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the behaviour was outrageous.
"The police commissioner was telling me that some people in the Ipswich area were going in and looting while people were homeless," the premier told reporters.
"I don't know where it stops.
"These people have got to have a good hard look at themselves ... I cannot believe it in this day and age people would do that."
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll confirmed reports of looting at Bundamba, Goodna and Blackstone, west of Brisbane.
"I cannot overstate how disappointed and disgusted I am that this has occurred in areas where people have had to leave their houses," Ms Carroll said.
"Through this operation, we will ensure there is a strong police presence in flood-affected areas to protect our community against heartless thieves.
"Our message to anyone thinking about stealing from homes or businesses is that you can expect police to track you down and ensure you are held responsible for your actions."
Police have launched Operation Uniform Nash in a bid to stop looters.
Around the clock patrols are underway in flood zone areas using water police and aircraft.
Four people were charged overnight including a Rocklea man caught with dozens of wheels and tyres, allegedly taken from outside a business impacted by flooding.
Another three people - two men and a woman - were charged after being nabbed at Woolloongabba.
The trio was caught with camping gear and copper wire allegedly stolen from nearby properties.
Earlier, a 21-year-old man was arrested and charged with burglary while detectives investigate at least two other matters.
Police allege he used a canoe to navigate through floodwater before breaking into the freezer of a Brisbane Road convenience store and stealing several items.
A flooded charity store on Coal Street in Bundamba was also targeted on Monday night, with jewellery and cash stolen.
In Blackstone, one evacuated resident returned to find their property had been broken into, with a door damaged and several items of value stolen.
Australian Associated Press
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