FORT MEYERS. FL – Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno announced today that his officers would have zero tolerance for looters in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, which devastated large areas of the county last week.
Sheriff Marceno was joined by Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey and Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy to announce that while his departments are focused first on life-saving and recovery efforts, they will also be watching for looters and other opportunists seeking to take advantage of those who have lost everything.
Over 800 people were rescued by law enforcement, and the death toll from the storm is 54. The sheriff announced that Fort Meyers Beach would be closed even to residents during the rescue and recovery effort and to ensure that each death investigation is handled properly.
“We have to make certain that we do it right,” he said. “When somebody is deceased, we cannot contaminate the scene, and the last thing we need is people being in the way of that, or for their safety in an unsecured place where they can get hurt.”
Sherrif Marceno said the department is committed to maintaining law and order in the aftermath of Ian.
“Look, folks, we took a horrific hit here,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking. We have residents that have lost everything and, in hours, have nothing…I will tell you this with certainty. There will be zero tolerance. We are out in full force with officers and the National Guard being deployed…we’re not going to tolerate any type of looting.”
“They can walk into somebody’s home, but I can guarantee they will be carried out,” he added. “I ain’t playing games.”