Platoon of National Guard added to enforce Lower Keys curfew

The dusk-through-dawn curfew for Monroe County while the Keys recover from the devastation delivered by Hurricane Irma was eased a bit for the Upper Keys, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Colonel Lou Caputo said the Islamorada and Key Largo curfew is now 10 p.m. until dawn.

But in the Middle and Lower Keys, the curfew not only remains the same, an additional platoon of U.S. Army National Guard troops has been assigned to Big Pine Key to “stop and engage anybody moving,” Caputo said during Thursday night’s Monroe County Emergency Operations Center conference call.

He said reports of significant looting are not true, but that could change if the curfew is not enforced.

“We want to crack down on widespread looting before it gets started,” he said.

“We don’t want to put the homeowner in the position where they have to defend themselves,” Caputo added.

The National Guard troops will be helped by beefed-up Sheriff’s Office patrols, he said.

“The presence will stay out there for the duration,” Caputo said. “As long as it takes to keep you safe.”

David Goodhue: 305-440-3204