PORT CHESTER, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – It was a crime caught on tape — not once, or twice, but a whole series of thefts as bar patrons decide to strip a passed out man of his belongings rather than send for help.
Cops are going over the video to line up suspects, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported Wednesday.
The video shows a man out cold, prone on the sidewalk. He could have used a helping hand but all he got was indifference before being physically robbed in full view of security cameras. It’s a sordid scene that includes a woman snatching a chain from around his neck, examining it like a predator fleecing helpless prey.
“This poor man … nobody knows if he’s sick. Nobody knows if he’s hurt,” said Port Chester resident Sean McNerney, who recorded the video and was the first to alert the police.
The scene took place on Main Street after midnight, down the street from a bar called La Dolce Vita. Sergio Palacios, 38, is seen staggering from the place and collapses on the sidewalk.
Port Chester Police Chief Joseph Krezeminski said he was furious over what the video reveals next.
“People are rifling through his pockets looking for valuables. At one point he has a watch on; then he doesn’t have it. Maybe after the first or second attempt there was no more to steal,” Chief Krezeminski said.
One passer-by even takes his belt. Another removes his shoes in an attempt to see if money is stashed in his socks. Neighbors said it isn’t unusual; just rarely caught on camera.
“It’s not uncommon to find people drunk under cars rolled for their money. It’s quite common,” resident George Bolger said.
Palacios remained prone on the sidewalk from just before 2:30 until after sunup. Just before 6 a.m. he is seen staggering to his feet and, without his watch or wallet, wanders into a backyard area. A startled homeowner calls police and in a final indignity he is arrested for trespassing.
A homeowners sees the guy at their back door. He said at first he was happy to see the drunk hauled away in handcuffs, but then he watched the video.
“I definitely feel bad for the man. This guy was so badly taken advantage of, it’s disgusting,” McNerney said.
Police said Wednesday the trespassing charge may be dropped and some of the folks in the video may have legal problems of their own very soon.
Port Chester Police said they are conducting an internal investigation to figure out how the man was able to lay in the open for so long without any passing patrol cars taking notice.
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