POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – As Hurricane Irma barrels towards Tampa Bay, authorities are on high alert for looters, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is hoping to make an example out of two of them.
Marvell Parkinson, 18, and a minor, whose name we will not disclose, were arrested for burglarizing an unoccupied dwelling during a state of emergency among other charges.
Around 1:45 p.m. on Friday, a witness saw the duo crouched behind their neighbor’s home on Beverly Drive in Lake Wales.
When Parkinson and his partner in crime realized they were being watched, they split off in different directions and were quickly apprehended by deputies, according to the sheriff’s office.
Once they were in custody, deputies found a window punch in the minor’s pant pocket.
The minor told deputies they were walking through the neighborhood and noticed a home was not boarded up. They entered through the back door, left the home a few minutes later and walked to the detached garage. Parkinson used the window punch to shatter a glass window and gain entry into the garage. The minor was able to open the garage door and Parkinson ran in with a set of keys he had stolen from the residence, deputies said.
The duo then tried to drive off with the victim’s 2001 Dodge Intrepid, but the battery was dead.
Both teens were charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, burglary of an unoccupied dwelling during a State of Emergency, resisting arrest without violence, possession of tools with intent to use for a burglary, and unarmed burglary of a residence. Parkinson faces an additional charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
He was booked into the Polk County Jail and the minor was transported to the Juvenile Assessment Center.
Deputies said Parkinson has been on juvenile community control since last year and both suspects have criminal histories including burglary, grand theft, and possession of marijuana.
“We want everyone to be safe during the hurricane. And we will not tolerate thieves taking advantage of those evacuating their homes. Looters need to be prepared to go to jail if they try to take advantage of people during a state of emergency,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
HURRICANE IRMA COVERAGE –
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