Sand and rubble surround homes damaged during Superstorm Sandy Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, at Breezy Point in the Queens borough of New York. / AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
NEW YORK In one of the areas hardest hit by superstorm Sandy, residents are now coping with a brand new violation: Looting.
In Breezy Point, Queens, more than 100 homes were destroyed by fire on the night Sandy hit. Many residents who left their homes for Thanksgiving returned to find their houses had been ransacked and robbed, CBS Station WCBS reports.
On Thanksgiving, Robert Bainbridge - who has been filing reports with his insurance company and federal agencies - filed a police report after he discovered someone had broken in and burglarized his house.
"I was a little dumbfounded because I thought I had the house pretty well secured," Bainbridge told WCBS correspondent Drew Levinson.
His wife Dorenda and daughter Katie said the burglars rifled through almost everything in their bedrooms, taking jewelry and money.
"How dare you kick us when we are down? You feel it in your gut, you feel it deep inside you, it's such a wound," Dorenda Bainbridge told Levinson.
Other homes in the community were also hit over the holiday, adding insult to injury.
"It's just a kick in the pants to have this happen on top of everything," Bill Schlageter told Levinson.
The thieves stole items they could easily put in their pockets without raising any suspicions - mostly jewelry, coins and cash.
"Unbelievable, unbelievable. They should rot in hell," one neighbor said when she heard about the break-ins.
The New York Post reported that at least three homes in Breezy Point were hit on Wednesday or Thursday. The Post reports that there were 14 home break-ins in the Queens neighborhood between Nov. 12 and Nov. 18, while there were none during the same period in 2011.
Bainbridge, who is a graphic artist, drew a picture of gun with a warning that he's armed and put it on his door to ward off any other would-be thieves.
Other neighbors called the situation disheartening, characterizing Breezy Point as a community where everyone knows everyone else, and saying they cannot imagine who would have broken into their homes.
In the immediate wake of the storm, Rockaway residents told WINS reporter Gary Baumgarten that looting and thievery have become serious threats. Residents from Staten Island to the Jersey Shore also saw lootings and, like Bainbridge, some warned that they had guns and would use them if necessary.
In Hillside, N.J., two North Carolina men who came to New Jersey to take part in post-Sandy recovery efforts have been accused of trying to rob a drug store.
David Dockery, 28, and Jerry Lee Williams, 34, were arrested on Thanksgiving night and charged with burglary and criminal mischief, the Star Ledger reported.