Hurricane Dorian has not quite reached Florida yet, but panic already has. Several people have already been arrested for looting in the chaos of storm preparation, and authorities are on the look out for more. Meanwhile, some experts now say the storm may never get to the peninsula in earnest.
The storm itself may be standing still off-shore, but Dorian has brought some chaos to Florida already. According to a report by local ABC News affiliate WFTV9, three men were arrested on Monday night for looting in Daytona Beach, Florida. Two of the men were working together, while a third was caught on his own.
The first pair of alleged burglars were caught around 8:45 p.m. ET on Monday night. Deputies in Dayton Beach said that they were caught trying to steal sandbags before the storm, used to hold back flood water and break heavy tides. These were believed to be the first arrests during the storm's state of emergency. Sheriff Mike Chitwood told reporters that penalties are enhanced due to the state-wide status.
The third man was arrested about an hour later, also in Daytona Beach. Authorities say that 32-year-old Jeremy Crouter attempted to enter 17 different hotels or condominiums, checking the door handles of homes to see if they were left unlocked. Crouter was picked up by police on South Atlantic Avenue.
Cops said that Crouter resisted arrest, adding another charge to his ordeal. The 32-year-old now faces counts of battery on a law enforcement officer, burglary, possession of methamphetamine and resisting arrest. In his mugshot published by WFTV9, Crouter winked at the camera.
In spite of the chaos on the ground, Hurricane Dorian may go easier on Florida than initially anticipated. The storm's slow pace allowed it to pick up more and more strength from the ocean, but it also drastically altered the storm's projected path. It slowed to a mere 1 mile per hour over the Bahamas, dwindling in size and wind speed over the islands.
At the time of this writing, Hurricane Dorian has reportedly fallen to a Category 3 storm. Its sustained wind speeds have gone down to 125 miles per hour, and at this rate meteorologists are questioning whether it will reach the U.S. mainland.
Still, Dorian has brought horrifying conditions to the Bahamas and other islands in the Caribbean. So far, five deaths have been reported in the storm, and other people are still missing. There has been massive property damage as well, and the re-building effort will be a serious undertaking.