Looters strike Florida as Hurricane Irma still lashing the state

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (CNN Newsource/AP) — Despite punishing winds and heavy rain from Hurricane Irma Sunday there were several reports of looting coming in from around Fort Lauderdale.

Crews from affiliate station WPLG caught a group breaking into Simon’s Sportswear while winds were still whipping and rain was still falling.

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A group also looted a Footlocker store in the same area and a pawn shop was also targeted, officials said. South Florida police vowed to monitor the streets to prevent looting.

In video, it appeared a window was first broken at Simon’s Sportswear and several people entered taking what they could carry.

Police arrested nine people who were caught on TV cameras looting sneakers and other goods from a sporting goods store and a pawn shop.

Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione said the group was arrested Sunday as the storm roared across South Florida. Maglione called the idea of stealing sneakers during a hurricane “a fairly bad life choice.”

In Fort Lauderdale and Miami on the eastern coast of Florida Sunday there was widespread flooding as Irma came ashore on the west coast of the state as a Category 3 storm on Marco Island around 3:30 p.m.

Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso says a second tower crane has collapsed into a building under construction in the city’s downtown area. Alfonso told The Associated Press that the crane collapsed in a large development with multiple towers being built by Grand Paraiso.

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Another crane collapsed earlier Sunday onto a high-rise building that’s under construction in a bayfront area filled with hotels and high-rise condo and office buildings, near AmericanAirlines Arena. Officials said no one was injured as the result of either crane’s collapse.

More than 2.1 million customers have lost power in Florida with Hurricane Irma striking the state.

Florida Power & Light reported the numbers Sunday afternoon. The utility, which services much of south Florida, says more than 845,000 of those customers are in Miami-Dade County.

Duke Energy, the dominant utility in the northern half of Florida, has about 13,000 outages with the outer bands of Irma sweeping across the region.

The power companies say they have extra crews on hand to try to restore power – when it becomes safe to do so.

FPL spokesman Rob Gould says an estimated 3.4 million homes and businesses will lose power once the worst of Irma reaches the Florida mainland.

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