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Sandy-Ravaged Staten Island Homes Vandalized After Extensive Renovations

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The owners of three Hurricane Sandy-ravaged homes on Staten Island that were rehabbed by volunteers were back to square one Wednesday after vandals stole the copper wire and plumbing.

As 1010 WINS' Holli Haerr reported, in Midland Beach some people were just starting to move back in after Sandy. One man, who did not want his name used, thought he would soon be among them.

Sandy-Ravaged Staten Island Homes Vandalized After Extensive Renovations

"I was about one week away from moving back into my house when this happened. The burglars came in and took out pipes from my heating system," he said.

He said he could not believe it after the damage he already went through from Sandy.

"This is a different thing all together," he said. "One is an act of God; the other is one human against another, so it's really given me a feeling of fear and violation."

Another victim, Mary Ferris, told CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez she was living a nightmare after being struck by the vandals.

"I was shocked. How could it be?" she said. "How could it be again?"

Early Tuesday morning, burglars broke into her Staten Island home. The cut pipes flooded, and caused severe water damage.

"After (Sandy), I kind of got a grip on it," Ferris said. "But this, this destroyed me."

Thieves stole $2,000 worth of tools and cut out all the copper piping in Ferris' house. The first and second floors were left flooded.

Contractor Louis Palladino, part of the team of volunteers renovating Ferris' home, discovered the crime.

"There was just water pouring out of the ceiling from upstairs," Palladino said. "The main was ripped out. There was just water all over."

Philip Misseri of S.T.A.R. America is helping with renovations.

"Walls once again saturated. Ceiling saturated. Electrical work saturated," he said. "You have to air out this place for a week and test everything to make sure it's going to be OK."

Thieves also hit the house behind Mary's, which belongs to her son. The burglars tore out all the baseboard piping throughout that house, and the copper piping from the boiler and furnace.

"Now I don't even feel safe here," he said. "Now I'm really afraid to be here."

Ferris also said she fears the thieves will be back.

S.T.A.R. America is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest, and setting up alarms.

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