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‘You loot, we shoot’ – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issues a stark warning

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a stark warning to any opportunistic looters looking to strike as the state struggles to recover from the effects of Hurricane Ian. On Friday, the Republican said simply: ‘You loot, we shoot.’ 

At a press conference on Friday, DeSantis also said: ‘The other thing that we’re concerned about, particularly in those areas that were really hard hit, is you know, we wanna make sure we’re maintaining law and order.’

The potential 2024 Republican presidential nominee added: ‘Don’t even think about looting. Don’t even think about taking advantage of people in this vulnerable situation. And so local law enforcement is involved in monitoring that.’

He continued: ‘You can have people you know bringing boats into some of these islands and trying to ransack people’s homes and I would not wanna chance that if I were you, given that we’re a Second Amendment state.’

The governor concluded: ‘I can tell you, in the state of Florida, you never know what may be lurking behind somebody’s home.’ 

There have been sporadic reports of looting events across the Sunshine State following the devastation left behind by Hurricane Ian. 

The storm made landfall in Florida on September 28 as a Category 4 hurricane, it was later relegated to a tropical storm as it made it’s way north towards the Carolinas, briefly regaining hurricane strength over the Atlantic before being relegated again. 

The devastation inflicted on Florida came into focus a day after Ian struck. It was one of the strongest storms ever to hit the U.S. 

It flooded homes on both the state’s coasts, cut off the only road access to a barrier island, destroyed a historic waterfront pier and knocked out electricity to 2.67 million Florida homes and businesses — nearly a quarter of utility customers.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a press conference on Friday: ‘I can tell you, in the state of Florida, you never know what may be lurking behind somebody’s home’

The owner of Yerb Labs, a holistic healing center, in Plant City, posted this photo showing the shattered glass outside of his burgled building on Friday

The owner of Yerb Labs, a holistic healing center, in Plant City, posted this photo showing the shattered glass outside of his burgled building on Friday

The owners said that looters stole items such as vapes and said that he has been told that his insurance will not cover the damages

The owners said that looters stole items such as vapes and said that he has been told that his insurance will not cover the damages

On Thursday, the Lee County Sheriff's Office posted this image showing a group of youths who were apprehended after looting

On Thursday, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office posted this image showing a group of youths who were apprehended after looting

The devastation inflicted on Florida came into focus a day after Ian struck. It was one of the strongest storms ever to hit the U.S.

The devastation inflicted on Florida came into focus a day after Ian struck. It was one of the strongest storms ever to hit the U.S.

Following this catastrophe, the owner of Yerb Labs, a holistic healing center, in Plant City on the outskirts of Tampa, said that his store had been set upon by looters.

Owner Carlos Tramontana told WFLA: ‘I get a phone call with the video and my neighbor said police are inside your place.’

According to a Facebook post on Yerb Labs’ page, the thieves smashed through the front door and smashed through the glass cases, stealing vapes and other items.

Tramontana said: ‘It really hurt. It was really sad to see something like this, something you put your heart into, we spent every penny we have on this place.’ 

While an employee, Shay Mccully, said: ‘I was devastated. The first thing I thought of was who, and why, and it was just really heartbreaking.’

The owner went on to say that he has been told that insurance won’t pay for the damage or the stolen items. He added: ‘It’s really hard when you’re finally gaining momentum and you feel like your heart was just ripped out because now we have to start over again.’

In the town of Bronson, some 140 miles north of Plant City, 27-year-old Matthew Adams was charged with Looting when he was found inside of shuttered business, reports WCJB. 

Adams is being held in Levy County Jail on a $135,000 bond. 

A resident of Bonita Beach, Natalie Sablina, posted a photo on Facebook showing a group of looters going through boats that had been blown out of the water by the storm

A resident of Bonita Beach, Natalie Sablina, posted a photo on Facebook showing a group of looters going through boats that had been blown out of the water by the storm

A resident of Bonita Beach, Natalie Sablina, posted a photo on Facebook showing a group of looters going through boats that had been blown out of the water by the storm. 

Sablina said that she also saw a group looting a townhouse in the town saying: ‘One luxury townhome complex has garages open to let water out and this gang gave us the most horrible look – like it is their bounty and we better not get in their way.’

She also wrote: ‘People can be such trash. I have heard of looting but to see it personally today was more depressing than property damage.’ 

Bottles of booze were seen surrounding a group of youths after they were arrested for looting

Bottles of booze were seen surrounding a group of youths after they were arrested for looting 

There have been sporadic reports of looting events across the Sunshine State following the devastation left behind by Hurricane Ian

There have been sporadic reports of looting events across the Sunshine State following the devastation left behind by Hurricane Ian

 Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody tweeted Friday: ‘Florida will not tolerate looters taking advantage of (Hurricane Ian) to prey on vulnerable Floridians.’ 

‘They will be arrested and I have asked state attorneys to seek the longest pretrial detention possible to keep them locked up so they cannot commit new crimes,’ she wrote. 

On Thursday afternoon, a photo showed Lee County sheriff’s deputies arresting a group of people. Reporter Gage Goulding, who posted the picture, tweeted: ‘Sheriff’s deputies told me Thursday afternoon these people were arrested for looting on Fort Myers Beach.’

The storm flooded homes on both the state¿s coasts, cut off the only road access to a barrier island, destroyed a historic waterfront pier and knocked out electricity to 2.67 million Florida homes and businesses

The storm flooded homes on both the state’s coasts, cut off the only road access to a barrier island, destroyed a historic waterfront pier and knocked out electricity to 2.67 million Florida homes and businesses

Despite being downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, officials are still warning of dangerous conditions being created by the storm as it heads north

Despite being downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, officials are still warning of dangerous conditions being created by the storm as it heads north

In Lee County, where the devastated Fort Myers is located, a 6 pm curfew was put in place in order to prevent an outbreak of looting.

County Manager Roger Desjarlais said in a press conference on Thursday: ‘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.’

He continued: ‘There was a group of people, don’t know a lot about it yet, who just had their way. I think it was with one of the Speedway gas stations or one of those and so the city of Fort Meyers…called to talk about a curfew.’

Desjarlais went on: ‘There is going to be a zero tolerance policy for looting and violence.’

Prior to the arrival of the hurricane, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said on Wednesday that there would be zero tolerance for looters. 

The sheriff said: ‘A message that’s very clear for any of those individuals that think they’re gonna go out there and loot or prey on people during this horrific event.’

He went on: ‘You better think twice. When I say zero tolerance, zero tolerance means we will hunt you down, track you down and you’re going to jail if you’re lucky.’ 

Despite being downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, officials are still warning of dangerous conditions being created by the storm. 

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