Opportunistic scumbags have already been caught trying to loot the shuttered homes and businesses of evacuees in Florida as the monster Hurricane Irma barrels toward the state.
In St. Lucie County on Saturday, police arrested a suspected looter after deputies caught him burglarizing a building materials store.
They identified the miscreant as 30-year-old Keith Francis Adams.
“I have said over and over that we will not tolerate looting or price gouging,” Sheriff Ken J. Mascara said in a statement.
“We have deputies actively patrolling the county, including our beach communities, to ensure the safety and security of your homes and businesses. If you think you are going to take advantage of these evacuated properties, be prepared to spend the storm at the county jail,” Sheriff Mascara said.
The same thing happened in nearby Martin County:
A burglary suspect was arrested Saturday and charged with advanced looting, Sheriff William Snyder said.
“Those of you who have left the area, I want you to be assured that we are watching your business in the area,” Snyder said, adding that the Sheriff’s Office ramped up patrols across the county to counter looting.
In Lake Wales, south of Orlando, a couple of thugs were arrested for burglarizing a home after its residents had evacuated ahead of the hurricane.
Via Fox 13:
Polk County Sheriff’s Office said they arrested Marvell Parkinson, 18, and a 17-year-old boy for burglarizing the empty Lake Wales home during a state of emergency.
On Friday, at about 1:45 p.m., a witness noticed the two suspects at the rear of her neighbor’s home on Beverly Drive. Both ran when they noticed the witness but were taken into custody, the agency said.
According to deputies, they found a window punch in the 17-year-old’s pocket. The teenager told deputies that the duo walked through the neighborhood until they found a home that was not boarded up. They entered the home through the back door and stole a set of car keys. Then they used the window punch to shatter a detached garage’s window on the property. The teen said he opened the garage door, and Parkinson tried to use the keys to steal the victim’s 2001 Dodge Intrepid. However, the battery was dead.
“We want everyone to be safe during the hurricane. And we will not tolerate thieves taking advantage of those evacuating their homes. Looters need to be prepared to go to jail if they try to take advantage of people during a state of emergency,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in a press release.
The teenage suspects have criminal histories, including burglary, grand theft, and possession of marijuana, the sheriff’s office said.
In what can be seen as a sad sign of the times, the city of Miami has imposed an overnight curfew in an effort to stop looters from taking advantage of the countless abandoned homes.
And a sheriff in Marion County, northwest of Orlando, put out a strong message for potential looters in his county.
“I’m referring to the thugs and thieves out there that think they’re going to take advantage of my citizens while they are away from their homes,” said Sheriff Billy Woods in a YouTube video. “The governor of Florida has declared a state of emergency and during a state of emergency, Florida statutes allow for enhanced penalties for anyone found looting or taking advantage of our vulnerable citizens,” he said. “In addition to that, there is no bond for you if you’re caught looting. I can assure you that myself and my deputies will take this crime very seriously and I don’t believe any jury would have much mercy on you at your trial.”