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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Sep. 13, 201704:17 PM EST

Expect aggressive prosecution of storm-related crimes

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State attorney partnering with sheriffs.

As Northeast Florida rebuilds and regroups after Hurricane Irma, law enforcement officials in Duval, Clay and Nassau counties are partnering with the 4th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office to arrest and prosecute anyone who uses the storm as a means to commit crimes.

“At a time when most in our community have rallied to help one another during and after this devastating storm, it is appalling that a few would use it as an opportunity to victimize our neighbors,” said State Attorney Melissa Nelson in a news release.

Such crimes include burglaries, fraud, exploitation and other related crimes of opportunity that occurred during the declared state of emergency that began Friday and ended Tuesday.

Nelson said investigators will review cases to determine which crimes would fall under those categories and the State Attorney’s Office will fully pursue storm-related sentencing enhancements when applicable.

“Sheriff Daniels, Leeper, and I stand together with State Attorney Nelson to remind those who prey on others — especially as we work to dig out from Hurricane Irma — that these criminal acts are intolerable and justice will be delivered for the victims,” said Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams in the release, referring to Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels and Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper.

Anyone in Duval, Clay or Nassau county who suspect they have been the victim of a storm-related crime is encouraged to call the State Attorney’s Office Human Rights Division hotline at (904) 255-3099, or use the electronic form at the office’s sao4th.com website to report the crimes.

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