Polk County Florida Sheriff Grady Judd called on armed homeowners to shoot looters until they “look like grated cheese” during an appearance on Fox News Friday.
“People have a right to be safe in their homes. They have a right to their property, to be safe even when part of their home maybe torn away,” Judd said. “And these looters, that’s unacceptable. Absolutely unacceptable. I would highly suggest that if a looter breaks into your home, comes into your home while you’re there to steal stuff that you take your gun and you shoot him. You shoot him so he looks like grated cheese because you know what? That’s one looter that will not break into anyone else’s home and take advantage of them when they’re the most vulnerable and the most weak.”
“We’re all gonna come together,” Judd continued. “The community is gonna come together and if there are looters that think they’re gonna take care of these people, they may breaking it, but they should be carried out in a pine box because that is unacceptable, that cuts against all laws and all reality. You have a right and your property has a right to be safe and secure in your home, what’s left of it.”
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida said during a Tuesday morning press conference that three of the four people arrested on charges of looting this week were illegally residing in the United States.
“Three of the four are illegal aliens. These are people that are foreigners, they’re illegally in our country. Not only that, they tried to loot and ransack in the aftermath of a natural disaster,” DeSantis said during the press conference. “I mean, they should be prosecuted, but they need to be sent back to their home country. They should not be here at all.”
Lee County sheriff’s deputies arrested Omar Mejia Ortiz, Valerie Celeste Salcedo Mena, Brandon Mauricio Araya and Steve Eduardo Sanchez Araya.
Ortiz also faces a petit larceny charge, while the other three face charges of grand larceny.
“Right now, we have four cases of looting, and I’m proud to say they’re behind bars where they belong. Our residents are going to be safe,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said.
“[T]hree of these subjects are here illegally in this country — Robert Mena, Brandon Araya, Stephen Araya — all arrested for stealing bottles on Fort Myers Beach during the hurricane,” Marceno said. “They were located and arrested. And I’m going to tell you I’m not tolerating it again.”
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis warned potential looters Friday that Florida is “a Second Amendment state” and that looting would not be tolerated.