Polk County Man Took 8-Year-Old Son on Crime Spree, Didn’t Want Him to Be Soft

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LAKE WALES, FL – Earnest is going to jail.  No, it’s not the name of a new holiday movie coming to theaters this month, because well, movie theaters are closing down again across the country in the latest lockdown and this is actually a true story.   A man in Polk County took his eight year old son on a crime spree that involved grand theft auto, drugs, domestic violence and other serious major crimes.
“Earnest McKnight III has been to prison,” Polk County Sheriff’s Department said. “He’s committed a wide-variety of crimes (Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon, Domestic Violence, Loitering/Prowling, Narcotics, Resisting, Theft, and DWLSR). This isn’t what we call role-model behavior.”
According to police, in the past week, Ernest has committed a series of crimes in the Lake Wales area, and got himself arrested.
“For that, he is our criminal of the day…and also because he decided to take an eight-year-old boy along for some of the crimes,” the department said. “Why would he do that, any sane person would ask.
Well, Ernest told one of our detectives, “I was trying to toughen him up…I don’t want him to be soft.”
“Folks, if you would like to read that last part again, go ahead…we’ll wait as your brain cells calm down,” the department said. “From his misadventures over the last few days, Ernest can now add the following charges to the list.”
Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling (F2), Burglary of an Unoccupied Dwelling (F2), Burglary of Unoccupied Conveyance (F3), Grand Theft Motor Vehicle (F3), Tampering with Evidence (F3), Petit Theft (M1), and 3-counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.
One of the crimes was the theft of a delivered package. About that theft, Ernest told the detective, “It was there for me to take.”