Is curbside picking considered looting? Sheriff answers

1 min read
Hurricane Ian destruction is seen in Fort Myers Beach, Florida

According to the Collier County Sheriff, curbside picking is NOT looting….but stealing IS a crime!

Curbside picking through debris and discarded household items in the right of way is NOT considered looting or theft by law.

We know that there is deep emotional pain in having to throw away personal items that have been ruined by the storm. And it feels like a violation when strangers are going through those things out in the street. It really hurts and can trigger anger, but it’s not unlawful and you should not react with violence or aggression.

If someone is coming into your house or building or open garage to do that without your permission, it is illegal and you should call or text 9-1-1 immediately. If you see this happening at your neighbors, call!

For curbside pickers in the right of way: be respectful and be careful. And if items are being discarded, they probably have been exposed to sewage, mold has already started growing and may be full of nasty bacteria from the surge waters.

Don’t let your enthusiasm for “free” stuff lead you beyond the right of way. It’s a crime and it’s Florida. Florida homeowners & tenants have rights. Just saying. Be aware.

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Don’t steal other people’s stuff. It’s against the law and will not be tolerated in Collier County.