Hurricane Ian response: Florida county announces 'zero tolerance' for looting amid curfew

Lee County says weather conditions due to Hurricane Ian blocked law enforcement from responding to a report of looting

Lee County, Florida has implemented a strict curfew and said it has "zero tolerance" for looting in the areas ravaged by Hurricane Ian. 

County officials said Wednesday there was a report of looting in the aftermath of the storm.

Reports of looters taking advantage of the chaos caused by Hurricane Ian and walking away from destroyed homes in Fort Myers with stolen goods prompted Lee County officials to establish the temporary ordinance. 

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"Earlier today, when law enforcement was unable to respond because of weather conditions... there was a break-in on Cleveland Avenue River," said Lee County Manager Roger Dejarlais. 

Damaged boats lie on the land and water in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Fort Myers, Florida. 

Damaged boats lie on the land and water in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Fort Myers, Florida.  (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

"There was looting and there was a group of people, don't know a lot about it yet, who just had their way," he added.

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Dejarlais went on to call the curfew part of a "zero tolerance policy for looting and violence" as officials ensure citizens' safety. 

Exceptions to the order include traveling employment, school or medical issues.

In this photo taken by a drone, the two-story Getaway Marina building, front, lies reduced to rubble as displaced boats rest along the roadside and a trailer park, at top, lies nearly devoid of homes, following the passage of Hurricane Ian, on San Carlos Boulevard in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. 

In this photo taken by a drone, the two-story Getaway Marina building, front, lies reduced to rubble as displaced boats rest along the roadside and a trailer park, at top, lies nearly devoid of homes, following the passage of Hurricane Ian, on San Carlos Boulevard in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.  (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

In an update with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday morning, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie announced more fatalities from Hurricane Ian.

Guthrie told reporters that there was one confirmed death reported in Polk County. In the hard-hit Charlotte County, 12 reported fatalities were unconfirmed.

In Collier County, there are eight unconfirmed deaths.

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As rescuers continue to work, DeSantis said that emergency responders had reached more than 3,000 homes in the most impacted areas, with over 1,000 rescue personnel located up and down the coastline.

FDOT had cleared over 1,100 miles of roadway and the governor said that traffic was flowing out of the area and was "better than anticipated so soon."

Rescue personnel search a flooded trailer park after Hurricane Ian passed by the area Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Fort Myers, Florida. 

Rescue personnel search a flooded trailer park after Hurricane Ian passed by the area Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Fort Myers, Florida.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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Guthrie noted that the state was still processing a couple of other "situations," including one where human remains had been found.

Fox News' Julia Musto contributed to this report.