The breakdown of law and order post-Sandy was shocking. It seemed like people were just waiting for the storm to strike so they could take advantage.
Coney Island was especially bad. People went in and out of stores grabbing flat-screen televisions, clothing, booze and other loot. According to witnesses, looters were in no hurry. Some thieves made multiple trips. Looting even took place in broad daylight, with bystanders present. The thieves didn’t care. It wasn’t about stealing to feed themselves; this was about entrepreneurship. This was about seizing an opportunity.
Thieves hit Joann’s Discount Wine and Liquors at 11:30 a.m. Police officers were posted to prevent further looting. While they were out front, innovating thieves emptied the store through the roof.
At a nearby Rite-Aid, people were walking in empty-handed and walking out with full shopping carts. “They didn’t even look worried,” said one store employee. “They looked like they were casually shopping.”
A mob of up to 100 people completely ransacked the Fresh Market Store. Employee Fernando Mendoza said they were “destroying everything. They stole anything they could get their hands on. Someone even ran off with the cash register.”
One looter justified stealing merchandise this way: “Look, they’ve been looting our wallets for too long.”
Other people took the opportunity to cash in big. People were selling chocolate bars for $8 and fuel for $20 per gallon. Hotels jacked up rates to $700 per night. On Craigslist, gasoline was offered in exchange for sex.
But people weren’t just nonchalant about their looting: They were proud of it, declaring their sins for the world to see.
The Twittersphere showed looters going wild. One bragged: “Last night even momma got outa her house to loot me a new shirt..luv u momma.” The attached picture showed an older woman taking a mannequin wearing a white shirt out of a broken store window.
Another wrote: “i don’t need a degree the lootin business serve me well.” Other looters bragged about stealing laptops, TVs, stereo equipment, video game systems, hospital equipment, and even somebody’s pet cat right out of their house. One person bragged: “im rakin in da dough ive pocketed $8500 just in past hour.”
Another tweeted: “we not stealin we taking back from da white man.”
What a nation. This problem isn’t easily fixed. It exposes a mentality more deeply ingrained in our culture than most people care to admit. ▪