A Florida man with a criminal history is in trouble again…but this time, it’s because of who he brought along.
Officials with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office accuse 36-year-old Ernest McKnight III of taking an 8-year-old boy with him on a crime spree last week through Lake Wales.
His reason for doing so? McKnight allegedly told deputies, “I was trying to toughen him up, I don’t want him to be soft.”
However, deputies didn’t buy it.
Now, he’s been charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling, as well as burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, grand theft motor vehicle, and tampering with evidence.
As far as having the child there with him, McKnight also faces three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Deputies arrested McKnight last Thursday, after he initially refused to pull over for a traffic stop.
However, a law enforcement helicopter unit spotted him behind a home shortly thereafter, according to the arrest report.
He has been arrested repeatedly in the past on charges ranging from possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, to domestic violence, loitering, narcotics, resisting, theft, and driving with a suspended or revoked license.