Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has issued a stern warning to potential looters ahead of Hurricane Idalia making landfall.
The National Hurricane Center has warned of a “catastrophic storm surge expected in the Big Bend region.”
11 AM EDT 29 Aug #Idalia strengthens, with catastrophic storm surge expected in the Big Bend region. Residents in these areas should follow any advice or evacuation orders given by local officials. Make sure to stay informed with latest updates at https://t.co/tW4KeGe9uJ pic.twitter.com/MkORCjjpi6
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 29, 2023
Speaking to Fox News, Moody had a lot of advice for new state residents who may not have experienced a hurricane before.
“As you know, Florida leads the nation in net migration. Our population is growing exponentially. And so we have a lot of Floridians that have never experienced a storm like this,” Moody said. “And so I’ve been asking those like me – who I’m a fifth generation Floridian, my family has gone through numerous storms – to advise those that are new to Florida, please don’t take this lightly.”
“Please heed the warnings,” Moody continued. “I saw firsthand the effects of Ian and what it meant for folks that were not prepared in the aftermath of that storm. And so we don’t want that to happen for those that are new to Florida. We’re so proud of our state and the success of our state. And we need to take care of and help those that are new in preparing for what this storm can become.”
Moody also addressed concerns people have about evacuating their homes and potential looters.
“One thing that we hear from folks, ‘We want to adhere to the warnings, but we’re concerned that our property may be in jeopardy if we’re not there,’ and that will not be a concern in Florida,” Moody said. “We are a law and order state. We will not take it lightly if folks are looting.”
“We want everyone to be in this together to think of each other to help support one another. We do need to be aware that in times of emergency, in these challenging times, there are bad actors – from those seeking to make a profit off of essential commodities, to those that are waiting in the aftermath to where property is abandoned, and neither will be tolerated,” Moody said. “I’m so grateful to work with a governor who is very strong on this and making sure that people understand this is a state that will enforce the law and people should be aware.”
Moody urged people to report any price gouging at hotels, gas stations or on other commodities to call the state hotline at 1(866) 9NO-SCAM, visit the free NO SCAM app, or http://MyFloridaLegal.com.
“We want them to let us know if they see bad actors charging unconscionable prices. That is illegal in Florida when we are under a declared a state of emergency,” she said.