Florida looters taking advantage of Hurricane Irma evacuations, several arrested
As Hurricane Irma barrelled down on Florida, police departments across the state issued warnings to would-be thieves hoping to take advantage of the chaos and anarchy that can erupt after a major natural disaster.
Those warnings weren’t heeded by everyone. On Sunday morning, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department tweeted that they arrested two 28-year-old men suspected of breaking into six homes that were evacuated by their occupants.
A few hours later, Fort Lauderdale police tweeted that they arrested nine people for looting a pawn shop and a sneaker store.
Those arrests were made after Local 10 cameras captured the group breaking into a Simon’s Sportswear store and emerging with boxes of sneakers.
WATCH: Hurricane Irma leaves Ft. Lauderdale streets clogged with sand
“Going to prison over a pair of sneakers is a fairly bad life choice,” police chief Rick Maglione said. “Stay home and look after your loved ones and be thankful they are all safe.”
Fort Lauderdale wasn’t the only Florida city to be tormented by opportunistic looters however.
Late Friday night, police in Lake Wales, Fla. arrested a pair of teenagers who tried to steal a car from the garage of a home that hadn’t been boarded up, WFLA reported.
Around the same time, a burglary attempt in Broward County ended with one teen suspect being shot and another taken into custody, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said.
WATCH: Irma leaves trail of debris and destruction in Florida Keys
Police in Miami were also investigating several reports of looting, the Miami Herald reported.
Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys on Sunday morning, and is expected to hit Tampa early Monday.
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