Police in Florida have made dozens of arrests for burglary and looting as criminals took advantage of a curfew that left homes and businesses empty as Hurricane Irma barrelled towards the state.
Officers shot one teenager they spotted apparently ransacking a house in the south of the state, while in Orlando a SWAT team was dispatched to tackle a stand-off after thieves broke into a sporting store.
An organised gang of at least 12 suspected looters were also seen loading boxes of shoes and clothes into cars outside a business in the Midtown area of the Miami, according to an NBC 6 reporter.
Deputies made it to the scene an hour later and made at least two arrests. They later posted a photo of 10 of the alleged looters, showing them restrained in a cell in custody.
The total of 32 arrests across Florida – 28 of which were in Miami – came in the early hours of Sunday, after people were ordered off the streets in three counties for at least 12 hours from 7pm US time.
City chiefs called for the lockdown in areas under threat from Irma as the storm swirled towards the southern coast of Florida, after leaving a trail of destruction across the Caribbean that killed at least 24 people.
Deputies shot the teenager outside a house in Broward County after the owners, who were out of town, spotted the suspected burglar on surveillance cameras inside the property.
The suspect, Dylan Lemon, was taken to Broward Health Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries after the incident in the city of Weston, police said.
Deputies said they arrested the youth’s suspected accomplice Jean Coello, 17, at the scene without incident. The pair face burglary and grand theft charges.
Broward Sheriff’s Office tweeted ahead of the curfew: “Looting during the storm will not be tolerated. Looters will be identified, investigated, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Police also arrested two men in Orlando after they were spotted allegedly looting two sporting goods stores.
Deputies attended after a manager saw suspicious activity on CCTV cameras inside one of the businesses, officers said.
A SWAT team was also dispatched to the shop after one of the men did not immediately give himself up to the police.
Deputies said the incident was “peacefully resolved”.
Police in Fort Lauderdale made nine arrests after a group of men were spotted looting a sportswear store before later targeting a pawn store, deputies said.
“Going to prison over a pair of sneakers is a fairly…