Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz wants to get tough on looters who take advantage of hurricanes and other disasters to steal from businesses and homes. He is sponsoring a resolution at the October 17 Commission meeting urging the state to make looters pay twice the value of any loss or damage caused by a theft or burglary committed during a declared statewide or local emergency. The resolution also urges the state to make looting during a declared state of local emergency a felony, just as it is for statewide emergencies.
The meeting will be held in the County Commission Chamber on the second floor of the Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW 1st St. It will begin at approximately 9 a.m.
During Hurricane Irma and its aftermath, 26 people were arrested for looting at a Wal-Mart store in Miami’s north side, and six men were arrested and accused of breaking into stores at the Midtown Miami shopping complex before making off with merchandise that included shoes, bags and laptops.
“Even though they represented only a very small part of the community, it was sickening to see people take advantage of Irma to further victimize businesses and residents who are already suffering due to the hurricane,” Commissioner Diaz said. “A hurricane is bad enough. The police shouldn’t have to do double duty during a hurricane — saving lives while also arresting thieves for stealing goods from businesses and homes during the hurricane.”