A Florida sheriff announced he has arrest seven looters that are accused of stealing items, including fire extinguishers, from wrecked properties in the aftermath of devastating Hurricane Ian.
The men, who are seen on video being led away in handcuffs, were called ‘the lowest form of scum’ for preying ‘on others directly impacted by Hurricane Ian’ by Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno.
‘There will absolutely be law and order in Lee County, and those who think they will commit crime are gravely mistaken,’ he added.
Lee County encompasses Fort Myers, which was ravaged by the hurricane that has left at least 55 dead in Lee County and hundreds of thousands of homes still without power.
Five of the men were arrested when police apprehended them and found stolen items, including fire extinguishers, in their van.
Five men were arrested when police apprehended them and found stolen items, including fire extinguishers
Hurricane Ian left at least 109 people dead, with at least 55 coming in Lee County where the men were arrested
The video, released by Lee County Sheriff’s Office, showed the robbery suspects being led away in handcuffs
The storm knocked out power to more than 4 million homes and businesses in Florida
More than half the schools in Lee County had at least some damage from Ian – and 14 percent had major damage
Eli Francisco Acevedo Marin, 48, Eli Yadiel Acevedo Ayala, 19, Luis Enrique Cedeno Morales, 57, Axel Martinez Quiles, 18, and Benigno Ortiz Diaz, 40, were charged with two counts of burglary during a state of emergency and two counts of grand theft of a fire extinguisher.
Another two men were arrested after they allegedly stole construction from a Hampton Inn parking lot in Fort Myers beach. Al King Chapman, 33 and Rodney Rogers, 59, were charged with grand theft.
The storm caused an estimated $60 billion in damage and thousands were left homeless.
The storm knocked out power to more than 4 million homes and businesses in Florida and over 1.1 million in North and South Carolina.
More than 400,000 residents went without power according to PowerOutage.us. with Lee and Charlotte county hit the hardest seeing 208,263 and 75,721 customers affected respectively.
Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis said 79,000 structures have been searched and announced the opening of the first Disaster Recovery Center in Fort Myers
The storm caused an estimated $60 billion in damage and thousands were left homeless
Biden has signed major disaster declarations for more than a dozen Florida counties last week
Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis said 79,000 structures have been searched and announced the opening of the first Disaster Recovery Center in Fort Myers for residents and businesses that have been affected by Hurricane Ian.
More than half the schools in Lee County had at least some damage from Ian – and 14 percent had major damage, the school district posted on Facebook.
Officials said they expect that toll to rise with the Marceno earlier telling reporters he is concerned for rescue workers.
‘We worry about burnout. We work 12-hour shifts, and they don’t get to go home to their family members,’ he said.
The sheriff said he was grateful to the National Guard and federal personnel, as well as volunteer rescue workers, for easing the burden on his department.
‘We took such a catastrophic hit but everybody wants to help,’ said Marceno.
‘It’s very heartwarming during these tragic events because in minutes and hours, a lot of people had their lives washed away.’