NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) – As far as crimes go, this is pretty low. A North Port man was arrested for burglarizing a home while Hurricane Irma tore through the area. If that’s not bad enough, the home is owned by first responders.
Police say as Irma’s winds whipped through North Port, 32-year-old Jeffery Burger decided instead of seeking shelter, he would burglarize his neighbors’ house.
He broke a side window and spent about 20 minutes inside, stealing shoes, belongings and electronics.
The owners were not home because they were busy protecting the public in Charlotte County. Owner Michael Mazzoni is a firefighter/EMT and his wife Colby is a corrections officer. They were out serving the community during the storm.
“They’re out putting their family aside to do all that, and then to come home and have somebody who took advantage of that situation is disgusting,” said North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor.
After the Mazzonis realized they were burglarized, they became suspicious of Jeffery Burger when they spotted him wearing a pair of their stolen sandals.
When police arrived, they found the Mazzoni’s belongings all over his house. They even found a sheriff’s office training pamphlet.
“He had a kind of a hidden wall in his closet that had a majority of the items,” explained Taylor.
The Mazzonis did not want to speak on camera, but they said they’ve never had a problem with Burger before.
Neighbors are appalled.
“Inexcusable, that shows a total lack of integrity, morality, it’s just, I find shocking,” said neighbor Pam Reilly. “I hope [Burger] goes away for a very long time. I hate to see that happen to anyone, but to do something to people who are serving the greater good of the community, there’s something wrong there.”
The family got all of their belongings back and Jeffery Burger is now in serious trouble. He faces four felony charges for the crime. The charges were heightened because he committed this awful crime during a state of emergency.
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