Burglaries High In Rockaways In Days Following Sandy
As if people in areas hard-hit by Sandy didn't have enough to deal with, many were also being victimized by criminals taking advantage of the situation. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
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With many private homes, buildings and businesses still without power in the Rockaways, police officers have had their hands full trying to prevent looting and break-ins.
One Gulf gas station on Beach Channel Drive was hit hard by flooding, and thieves.
"My computer, register, they took it. Police arrested five people already," said one employee of the Gulf station.
The 101 precinct in Queens which includes Far Rockaway, Bayswater and Wave Crest, has had at least 44 reported storm related burglaries in the less than three weeks since Sandy hit. That is an average of 14 a week. That's a big problem because there were 134 burglaries in all of 2011 in the area, or less than three a week.
"It is unfortunate people take advantage of the tragedies, but that's the way it is," said one Queens resident.
Along a tree lined street of private homes, two houses were hit by thieves while the power was out. The owners reported jewelry and video game systems stolen.
Neighbors said they're happy the electricity is back and overall, they feel safe.
"We have our neighbors. Everyone looks out for each other, and we hope it is not going to happen again," said one resident of the affected street.
Back at the gas station, the power was still off as workers tried to clean up the mess caused by the storm and thieves.
"People are stealing. Broke my glass, my door. Steal my cigarettes, beer, cigars, condoms, headphone, Tide detergent, soap," said another employee of the gas station.
Owners at one building in the Rockaways said they hired armed security. But two-and-a-half weeks later, their electricity is still not back, and they say they can't afford to continue to pay for that added protection.