Ernest McKnight III Lake Wales, Florida man goes on robbery crime spree with 8 year old son who he told detectives he wanted to toughen up and not be soft.
A Lake Wales, Florida man has been accused of contributing to the delinquency of his 8-year-old son after bringing the child along with him during a recent series of crimes.
When Ernest McKnight III, 36, of Winter Haven was asked by a detective why he had the boy with him he replied, ‘I was trying to toughen him up. … I don’t want him to be soft,’ Brian Bruchey, a spokesman for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.
He said the 8 year old was with McKnight last week when deputies say McKnight burglarized three unoccupied dwellings, stole a car and made off with a package stolen from a porch.The alleged crimes all took place in the City of Lake Wales.
‘Taking a child out with you while you’re committing felonies is not the proper way to create a positive influence,’ Sheriff Grady Judd said. ‘I’m quite confident that there is not a child psychologist out there who would agree with this guy’s idea of proper activity for a child.’
An arrest affidavit says McKnight was arrested Thursday after leading deputies on a high speed chase after they spotted him in the stolen vehicle, a red Hyundai taken from a road surveyor.
‘It was there for me to take.’
The affidavit quotes deputies as saying they clocked McKnight going 120 mph and that only after they caught up with him did they discover he was with a child.
Ernest has since booked with the following crimes: Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling (F2), Burglary of an Unoccupied Dwelling (F2), Burglary of Unoccupied Conveyance (F3), Grand Theft Motor Vehicle (F3), Tampering with Evidence (F3), Petit Theft (M1), and 3-counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.
Of the stolen package from the porch, the father told the detective, ‘It was there for me to take.’
The boy was reunited with family, Bruchey said.