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Apologetic porch pirate says he risked all for family suffering during coronavirus recession

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Mark Andre Speight is unemployed and he recently stole two boxes from a home’s front yard, police said. The boxes didn’t have electronics. There were just two $19 packs of Poland Spring water bottles.

Broward County Sheriff’s Office detectives said Speight, 43, is the man who wore a blue shirt and baggy khaki shorts to steal packages from homes around Broward County. Speight blamed his alleged crimes on the coronavirus recession.

“When you have conora virus going on in the world, when you have family there are a lot of things you put on the line for your family to survive … I’m sorry to everybody," Speight said after walking out of jail on Thursday night, adding “My family means the world to me.”

Deputies said Speight even stole a potted plant. And now, because of his criminal history, he could end up facing up to 30 years in prison. He said he doesn’t know what happened to the stuff he allegedly stole.

After Local 10 News showed the victims' surveillance videos, Speight shaved his head to alter his appearance, police said. Deputy Ryan T. Zimber arrested him on Wednesday at 2600 Pembroke Rd.

“Speight admitted that he drove to the listed location, exited his vehicle and took the two packages from the front patio,” Zimber wrote in the arrest form.

Zimber described Speight as a career offender with multiple felony convictions.

His criminal record in Miami-Dade County goes back to when he was a teenager and he escaped from juvenile facilities three times in one year, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.

Speight served about six years in prison after he was convicted of petit theft in both Seminole and Orange counties. He was released from prison on Nov. 16, 2017.

BSO records show Speight was at the Broward County main jail on Thursday in Fort Lauderdale. He is facing two counts of burglary and a petit theft charge. In Florida, more than three convictions for petit theft constitute a first-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

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