Two arrested for looting evacuated home, deputies say

Two people were arrested for burglarizing a home after its residents evacuated ahead of Hurricane Irma, deputies said.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office said they arrested Marvell Parkinson, 18, and a 17-year-old boy for burglarizing the empty Lake Wales home during a state of emergency.

On Friday, at about 1:45 p.m., a witness noticed the two suspects at the rear of her neighbor’s home on Beverly Drive. Both ran when they noticed the witness but were taken into custody, the agency said.

According to deputies, they found a window punch in the 17-year-old’s pocket. The teenager told deputies that the duo walked through the neighborhood until they found a home that was not boarded up. They entered the home through the back door and stole a set of car keys. Then they used the window punch to shatter a detached garage’s window on the property. The teen said he opened the garage door, and Parkinson tried to use the keys to steal the victim’s 2001 Dodge Intrepid. However, the battery was dead.

"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 in a press release.

The agency said both have criminal histories, including burglary, grand theft and possession of marijuana.

Both face multiple charges including burglary of an occupied dwelling during a state of emergency, resisting arrest without violence and unarmed burglary of a residence. Parkingson was also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.