Suspected post-Irma looters caught in Miami; police give warning on Facebook

Suspected post-Irma looters caught in Miami; police give warning on Facebook
Posted at 4:31 AM, Sep 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-12 00:48:26-04

(RNN) - Miami police posted a Facebook Live video Monday about the arrest of six people suspected of looting in the wake of Hurricane Irma's destruction

In the video, "Sarge" says a tip led them to a home where someone saw several people unloading a large number of items.

"In between clothes and shoes and cell phones, (we found) roughly 100 items," she said.

The officers said they believe the suspects are the same people seen in a video of looting that has gone viral. They served a warning to people thinking about looting that they will be caught.

The social media post is part of an effort to crack down on looting in the wake of the natural disaster. Miami police also posted an image to Facebook of several people in custody, adding "Thinking about looting? Ask these guys how that tuned out. #stayindoors."

A crew at a Fort Lauderdale TV station caught a group of looters in the act, sneaking into doors and windows broken by Hurricane Irma's winds to ransack the store, Simon's Sportswear.

After breaking into that store, the suspects reportedly entered a Cash America store and a pawn shop, adding to their haul. 

The clip, posted on Facebook by Pembroke Pines station WPLG, has caused outrage expressed in a barrage of comments, many of them with strong racial overtones.

Footage led local law enforcement to post a message to potential looters on Twitter. The Broward County Sheriff's Office sent a strong message to would-be looters, ensuring them they would be found and prosecuted. 

In Orlando, two people were arrested after they were caught robbing an Academy Sports store in the city's Mall of Millennia just as Irma barreled toward central Florida, the Orlando Sentinelreported. One suspect surrendered immediately, but a SWAT team was called after the second would not surrender immediately.

In the aftermath of rampant looting rumors in Orlando, police took to social media to warn residents of  inaccurate looting stories, including one that involved a police standoff. The looting incident was "peacefully resolved," police said.