Dozens of people arrested for looting in Florida as Irma moves through the state
It didn't take long for looters to take advantage of evacuated cities and law enforcement concentrating on saving lives rather than protecting property.
Dozens of looters have been arrested in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and other communities as the breakdown in law and order has resulted in lowlifes taking advantage of the crisis.
The alleged bandits were captured by WPLG-TV looting Simon's Sportswear store, with some stepping in and out of a broken window with pilfered goods despite Irma's heavy winds and rain.
"Going to prison over a pair of sneakers is a fairly bad life choice," Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione said in a statement. "Stay home and look after your loved ones and be thankful they are all safe."
Police said the group also burglarized a Cash America Pawn on Sunrise Blvd.
Local law enforcement officials in other Florida counties have issued warnings for those who plan to terrorize their communities.
Miami-Dade police nabbed 28 suspected looters as of midnight Sunday.
"Any looters who come to Pembroke Pines will be greeted by our officers," the Pembroke Pines Police Department tweeted. "Choose wisely and stay home."
"ATTENTION LOOTERS; Every incident will be investigated. Evidence collected will be used to pursue charges after the fact," the Broward County Sheriff's Office wrote in a tweet.
It's hard to tell how organized the looting is, although social media and smartphones probably spread the word about a vulnerable store pretty quickly.
It's a double edged sword. While looters may have the advantage of almost instantaneous communications, law enforcement benefits by the fact that most instances of looting are caught on camera. Facial recognition software can take it from there.
No doubt some stupid liberal will tell us looting is justified because these are obviously needy people. That may be true. But if they "need" shoes, it certainly is fortuitous that they are looting a store stocked with athletic shoes worth a couple of hundred dollars each.
You wish those who take advantage of a natural disaster would be punished far more severely than simply for larceny. But the law has yet to catch up to this kind of depravity, and until it does, the looters will get away with a slap on the wrist.