Florida Man brings Child Along to Commit Crimes to ‘Toughen Him Up’

Raven Haengel, Photographer, Writer

Polk County, Florida on November 14, 2020: 36-year-old Ernest McKnight III is being charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, grand theft auto, tampering with evidence, petty theft, and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. After bringing an 8-year-old boy along to commit many crimes, to “toughen him up”. On November 12th, McKnight was caught looking through a Chevrolet HHR of an owner walking his dog, alongside Country Road 653. McKnight later fled the scene in a stolen red Hyundai. 5 hours later, McKnight was seen taking a package from someone’s front porch but when he was confronted by a neighbor, McKnight fled the scene again in the stolen vehicle. Records show McKnight was arrested that same day, to which he refused to pullover for a traffic stop in Lake Wales. A police force helicopter unit was able to locate him behind a residential building in the surrounding area. The child was later reunited with his family and the relationship between McKnight and the child has not been specified. According to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, “Taking a child out with you while you’re committing felonies is not the proper way to create a positive influence. 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,” The Lake Wales Police Department are possibly going to add more charges of traffic violations and negligent child abuse according to the Miami Herald. McKnight has previous charges of being a convicted felon, domestic violence, loitering and prowling, narcotics, resisting arrest and theft, driving while license is canceled, suspended or revoked while also serving time in jail around 2009. According to the Daily Mail, McKnight was taken to Polk County Jail and placed on a $22,000 bond.