Ernest McKnight III Wiki – Ernest McKnight III Biography
- Ernest McKnight III, 36, was arrested Thursday by Polk County sheriffs and charged with a raft of crimes including burglary and auto theft
- McKnight allegedly stole a surveyor’s idling car and five days later was spotted rummaging through another car – hours before he swiped an Amazon package
- The Lake Wales man allegedly told detectives he brought his son along because he ‘was trying to toughen him up… I don’t want him to be soft’
- Police ridiculed him on social media, posting a image of him captioned ‘Ernest Goes to Jail’ in a reference to the 1990 comedy film
Ernest McKnight III, 36, was arrested Thursday by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and charged with a bevy of crimes, including burglary, automobile theft, and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
McKnight allegedly took his son – who was not named by police – along with him while he carried out the crimes.
‘I was trying to toughen him up… I don’t want him to be soft,’ McKnight allegedly told detectives.
McKnight allegedly began his spree in his home town of Lake Wales on November 7, when he stole a red Hyundai that was idling as its owner was surveying a nearby construction site.
Five days later, around 7 a.m., a man who had parked his Chevrolet HHR to walk his dog south of Lake Ashton allegedly spotted McKnight rummaging around in the vehicle.
McKnight fled in the stolen red Hyundai, police said.
Five hours later in Lake Wales, a resident claims they saw McKnight swipe a delivered Amazon package off the home’s front porch.
‘It’s mine now!’ he allegedly said when the victim confronted him.
He later allegedly told a detective, ‘It was there for me to take.’
McKnight fled that scene, again in the stolen red Hyundai, police said.
Lake Wales Police tried to pull him over, but McKnight kept driving.
The Polk County Aviation Unit later spotted the Hyundai behind a home near a campground on Lake Rosalie.
There McKnight was taken into custody the same day, and the boy was reunited with other family, police said.
Polk County sheriffs arrested McKnight on three counts of burglary, grand theft auto, petit theft, tampering with evidence, and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
‘Taking a child out with you while you’re committing felonies is not the proper way to create a positive influence,’ said Sheriff Grady Judd.
‘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.’
Lake Wales Police hit McKnight with additional charges of eluding law enforcement, driving with a suspended or revoked license, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office ridiculed McKnight on Friday, posting to Facebook a photo collage with his mugshot and a red Hyundai under the title of the 1990 comedy film ‘Ernest Goes to Jail.’
An Amazon package had a text bubble reading ‘Take Me, Ernest.’
McKnight saw a judge Friday, who ordered him held in Polk County Jail on $22,000 bond.
His public defender did not immediately return a request for comment Monday.
McKnight was previously accused of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, domestic violence, theft, and other charges, police said. He went to prison in 2009.
In February he pleaded no contest to a charge of armed trespassing, which carried a 120-day jail sentence and a restraining order, court records show.
On Halloween he was jailed and released on a failure to appear charge.