NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As if the situation weren't horrific enough in Breezy Point with flooding, raging fires and destruction during Superstorm Sandy, the residents have now found themselves in a theft crisis.
WCBS 880's Sophia Hall spoke with Mary Kelley, who said it is despicable that along with worrying about rebuilding her home, she also had to worry about thieves.
WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reports
"I just think it's awful," Kelley said. "I think it's absolutely terrible that at this time when we are most vulnerable they have to do things like this to us."
Police said three homes were broken into over the Thanksgiving holiday, and from Nov. 12 through Nov. 18, another 14 homes were hit. The crooks took whatever they could get their hands on, including laptops, coins, jewelry and cash.
"I think it is despicable we don't know where it is coming from," another woman said. "It's not something we normally see in Breezy Point."
Some residents have taken precautions to stop thieves before they strike.
As 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria reported, the sign on Robert Bainbridge's door says, "I'm here and armed. Come on in," along with a picture of a gun.
Bainbridge said it has been difficult enough dealing with the ravages of Sandy, and now to have to think about burglars is too much. He hopes the sign is a deterrent.
1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria reports
"You know, it's hopefully to give people the idea that people are looking out for their property, you know, and we have a right to, and hopefully whoever is doing this is going to realize, 'It's not right what I'm doing, and if I was in their shoes, I wouldn't want it done to me,'" he said.
Other neighbors call 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 1010 WINS reporter Gary Baumgarten that looting and thievery have become such serious threats that taking up arms and fleeing town are the best options for staying safe.
In Hillside, New Jersey 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.
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