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Squatters, Looters Overrun Sandy-Ravaged Staten Island Communities

Despite Police Presence, Residents Fight To Protect What Hurricane Didn't Take
Staten Island Looting

Steven Sumner of Staten Island said he has had to fight away looters in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. (Credit: CBS 2)

Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Staten Island residents already suffering from the ravages of Hurricane Sandy say they are now seeing their neighborhoods infiltrated by squatters and looters.

As CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported Wednesday, when darkness sets in on Wavecrest Street in New Dorp, people say squatters make their move – crashing empty homes wrecked by the hurricane.

“They just go in there late at night when nobody is supposed to be looking, and they just flop in the house and sleep in there, wherever,” resident Steven Sumner said.

Residents said the squatters are most attracted to homes that have electricity.

But Sumner said it is not just the squatters, but the looters, too. They have tried to break into his Sandy-ravaged home next to the trailer where he has been living temporarily.

But he said he has managed to fight back, with many different weapons, including a cane, a baseball bat, two rakes, and a stick.

When asked if the weapons work, Sumner said they usually do not.

“They usually run away from the big rake, but the baseball bat, they look at you and it’s like, ‘What are you doing? Are you kidding?’” he said.