At least 11 people have been arrested on elevated charges during the state of emergency, according to jail and court records.

Three people were arrested Wednesday in two unrelated incidents in which charges were enhanced during the threat of Hurricane Dorian, according to reports.


Gov. Ron DeSantis had placed Palm Beach County and other parts of Florida in a state of emergency because of the storm's potential landfall.


That declaration means the severity of some charges is upgraded one level. For example, a third-degree burglary charge, typical for unarmed incidents when no one is present, rises to a second-degree felony offense.


With these three arrests, at least 11 people have been arrested on elevated charges during the state of emergency, according to jail and court records.


Alvin Timothy Rampersadsingh, 28, who listed no address, was booked at the Palm Beach County Jail, charged with criminal mischief and burglary in a state of emergency. He remained in jail Friday with his bail set at $5,500.


Just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, a report says, a deputy found a man holding a piece of wood to threaten Rampersadsingh, who was sitting on a stoop of a home on Wabasso Drive in the Westgate neighborhood in suburban West Palm Beach.


Rampersadsingh told the deputy "the front door was open" and "I was staying in here for the storm." He said a friend had lived in the home and have moved out two days earlier. The report said Rampersadsingh admitted knowing it was wrong to go in the home. The owner said it had been vacant for eight months and that a window had been broken out, at a loss of $200.


In the second case, Matthew Eskstrom, 29, of West Palm Beach is charged with robbery and occupied burglary during a state of emergency. He remained in jail Friday evening with his bail set at $100,000. Monica Hightower, 31, of West Palm Beach was charged with robbery. She remained there Friday with her bail set at $25,000.


At about noon on Monday, three people robbed the Dollar General store on Military Trail south of Community Drive in suburban West Palm Beach, according to the report. The cashier told detectives a man and two women jumped over the counter and punched and choked her. She said the three grabbed cartons of cigarettes and other items, then ran out and drove off.


After viewing store surveillance-camera video, deputies put out an alert about the robbers and their car, and a deputy identified them as Eskstrom, Monica Hightower and a third person The Palm Beach Post is not naming because she has not been charged and it's not known if she's a juvenile.


The deputy said he'd encountered them the previous day during a domestic disturbance call in suburban Lake Worth Beach.


The cashier later picked Hightower out of a photo lineup but was unable to identify the other two, the report said. Later, Eskstrom's former girlfriend identified him in the store video of the robbery.


Deputies found Eskstrom and the other woman and arrested Eskstrom, who confessed to the robbery but said he had only been trying to break up the fight. It's not known how Hightower was arrested.


EK@pbpost.com


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