Looters are stealing from a Staten Island church's supply of items meant for those still recovering from Hurricane Sandy. "This is not just a couple of guys that needed some food," Pastor John Rocco Carlo of The Christian Pentecostal Church on Richmond Road tells DNAinfo. "They weren't taking food, they were taking other, non-perishable things. This is about people who want to sell stuff." Carlo says his parishioners have had to chase away looters themselves. “They're audacious. It’s like a roach. You chase it and it comes back later.”
On Saturday, two men were arrested for stealing 35 cases of water from the church. Carlo, who is also a retired NYPD captain, believes the looters are organized because they use a van with blacked out windows to load their take. “This is not just the same two guys. This is just a group or a gang, not only here, but probably going to different places…They were smart. They weren't kids."
The church isn't the only recovery station that has seen looting on Staten Island: Cedar Grove Community Hub organizer Donna Graziano said looters take "whatever they can. Water. They sell sheets. It makes no sense." A volunteer at an Occupy Sandy outpost in Midland Beach adds that people often return for more supplies than they appear to need: “I feel like a lot of our stuff has made its way into convenience stores. I see a lot of people come in a fill up mini vans and leave. It’s like a daily occurrence.”
Looting has been reported in Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay, the Rockaways, and at the South Street Seaport, where looters stole electronics from a Brookstone store almost immediately after floodwaters burst through its facade.