Neil W. McCabe – Florida Political Correspondent
UPDATED 3:22 PM PT – Thursday, October 6, 2022
(Pine Island, Fla.) While Republican Gov. Ronald D. DeSantis continued his tour of southwest Florida as he leads the recovery from Hurricane Ian, and he lashed out at four looters arrested in Lee County, three of them illegal aliens.
“We’ve been very clear that in situations like this, we’re not going to let bad actors exploit them. That means law and order will be enforced,” said the governor at a press briefing here.
“That means individual Floridians’ right to defend themselves and their homes will be honored,” he said.
The governor said law and order are critical to the recovery process.
“We’ve had four looters that were arrested, I guess a couple days ago, and they need to be brought to justice and we’re not going to tolerate it,” he said.
“Three of the four are illegal aliens, and so these are people that are foreigners,” he said.
“They’re illegally in our country, and not only that, they try to loot and ransack in the aftermath of a natural disaster.”
The full force of the law will come down on the four, DeSantis said.
“They should be prosecuted, but they need to be sent back to their home country,” he said. “They should not be here at all.”
The four looters are held at the Lee County Detention Center, three charged with grand larceny, one charged with petty larceny. Home burglaries cost lives because the fear of being robbed is one of the reasons why people refuse to evacuate their homes during hurricanes.
At another press briefing, the governor said he would not tolerate lawlessness.
“We’re maintaining law and order,” he said. “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.”
The governor said he discussed the issue with Kevin Guthrie, the director of Florida Division of Emergency Management, and the man functioning as the state’s hurricane recovery czar.
“I told Kevin if the state needs to help as well because yeah, you can have people bringing boats into some of these islands and trying to ransack people’s homes,” he said.
DeSantis also said the looters will have more to worry about than the police.
“In the state of Florida, you never know what may be lurking behind somebody’s home, and I would not want to chance that if I were you, given that we’re a Second Amendment state.”