MIAMI – City of Miami officials said Monday they have arrested at least 25 people for looting during and after Hurricane Irma, and offered a stern warning to anyone else thinking about taking advantage of the current situation.
"Don't do it," Miami police Deputy Chief Luis Cabrera said. "We're out there. We're vigililant and if you do it, you're going to get caught."
Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado led the media briefing that was also attended by city commissioners assuring residents they and their businesses are safe.
Local 10 News cameras showed groups looting stores in Fort Lauderdale as Irma was still ravaging South Florida on Sunday. Fort Lauderdale police later apprehended and arrested almost a dozen individuals in the group.
Around the same time, Miami police caught six looters breaking into shoe stores in the Midtown area.
"I think it's despicable that anyone would try to take advantage of the fact that we're in a vulnerable state," Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez said.
"You have to be heartless to prey on individuals, businesses and people in this time of need," Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo said. "This is a time for all of us to come together and we, in the cIty of Miami and police department, will not tolerate it."
Police added that they remain on elevated alpha/bravo shirts to keep the city safe.
"Despite the acts of a few criminals and looters, the spirit of Miami is very, very strong." Commissioner Ken Russell added. "I'm very proud of the residents and businesses that have come together with such a positive attitude."