Miami police investigate looting during Hurricane Irma

Miami police are investigating reports of looting as the remnants of Hurricane Irma blow through the city.

Police have detained two people and taken two suspects into custody Sunday evening, and officers are now back patrolling the streets after strong winds toppled cranes, pushed the bay over sea walls and forced police to stay inside, Deputy Police Chief Luis Cabrera told the Miami Herald.

Cabrera said the people detained were stopped by officers in relation to reports of looting at the Shops at Midtown around 1:10 p.m., when winds from the hurricane were at or near their strongest. He said one crew in a white truck hit multiple locations, and police have received additional reports of looting as the evening loomed.

“During the peak of the hurricane, we got a call about looting at Midtown,” he said. “Our units are being dispersed throughout the city with high visibility.”

Miami police issued a curfew Saturday night in part to ward off looters by giving officers probable cause to stop people for simply being on the street, given how many people have abandoned their businesses and homes during the hurricane. Fort Lauderdale police also arrested looters.

Cabrera didn’t know exactly how many lootings have been reported, and it’s unclear what shops were hit at Midtown. City Manager Daniel Alfonso said police are responding, though officials remain concerned about the weather.

“If the looters can be out there, we can be out there,” he said.