Officials from Florida’s Lee County announced a curfew on Wednesday following reports of looting and other criminal activity in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
Hurricane Ian made landfall in Lee County on Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, resulting in as much as $40 billion in property damage.
With local officials dedicating all their time and resources to the hurricane’s response, criminals took advantage and began looting and committing other crimes, Lee County officials announced.
For example, one gas station in Florida was reportedly looted.
“Earlier today, when law enforcement was unable to respond because of weather conditions, it was unsafe, there was a break-in on Cleveland Avenue and there was looting,” Lee County Manager Roger DesJarlais announced during a press conference.
DesJarlais noted that “a group of people” looted “one of the Speedway gas stations,” which prompted Fort Meyers city officials to talk to Lee County officials about instituting a curfew.
“To be sure, and I feel safe relaying this in on behalf of law enforcement, there’s going to be a zero-tolerance policy for looting and violence in this town,” DesJarlais added.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno condemned the criminals in a separate press conference on Wednesday.
I know we had a report of one incident where someone tried to loot into a gas station. I don’t know the details but it’s infuriating and we’re not gonna allow it. We are a great law and order state. We need to access the people that need to be helped, their life and safety is most important. But my message is very clear to those who think they’re gonna loot. Go somewhere else, leave the state, don’t do that in here, not in Lee County.
However, Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm since making landfall on Wednesday, but Florida officials warned that dangerous conditions remain.