NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – More Bronx tenants who say they’ve been victimized twice – first by a devastating fire, and then by looters – were let back inside the building Friday to retrieve what’s left of their belongings.
“I’m calling the police to report a burglary,” Johnny Cabrera said.
Cabrera lived in one of the 12 units ravaged by the fire at 1547 Commonwealth Avenue in the Parkland section on January 2. Earlier this week, some tenants learned the building had been ravaged by thieves, too.
“It was basically water damage and smoke damage,” Rafael Perez told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner. “They looted the whole apartment. A lot of things are missing.”
They say their missing belongings are worth thousands of dollars, including televisions, jewelry, expensive antiques and cash.
“We’re all under the assumption that it has to be workers,” said Perez. “Prior to them going in there, nothing was touched. Because a friend of mine used a drone to go into our apartment and he checked it out, and he said your apartment is in tact completely.”
The property manager, David Faal, escorted more tenants back inside the building Friday.
Rozner: “What do you have to say to the tenants? They come back to their home and they find their most precious items missing.”
Faal: “If they have any further questions, they can call the office… I can give you the phone number information, address, and you can go to the office.”
He gave CBS2 the addresses for two offices in Jamaica, Queens and told Rozner to speak with Tony Zadeh. When she arrived, an employee told her Zadeh was not there. A Post-It behind the woman’s desk read, “All news say ma’am I don’t know.’”
Rozner also tried next door, where she was referred to Matthew Ahdoot, who wasn’t around either.
The New York City Department of Building told CBS2 the property owner is in compliance by having a security guard there. The windows do not need to be boarded up.
So CBS2 reached out to the security company, ISSM Protective Services, to find out what happened.
Rozner: “What exactly do you do to secure the building here?”
Security guard Patrick Pierre: “We make sure that nobody, you know, tries to get in the building. And we have the key right here, and make sure that nobody goes back there.”
For Annie Rodriguez and her family, it doesn’t provide much comfort.
“That bothers me a lot. It bothers me a lot. It’s like my husband said, we worked so hard for those things,” she said. “We lost our apartment and now we got to lose our important stuff?”
The NYPD’s 43rd Precinct has been in touch with the residents to help them file police reports.
After CBS2 reached out to the local community board, the district manager said he would revisit the location next week and contact the landlord.
The city said it has also received reports of possible landlord harassment at the building.