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Hurricane Sandy's darker side: Looting and other crime

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Mr. Cooper and a few friends stood talking on his house's porch. It was about 7:45 p.m. and they were the only people around. The ocean breeze was getting colder and stronger. He held his flashlight and looked out onto the street, which was still covered with sand. 

“There's no lights, there's no cameras, there's no alarms, there's no nothing. It's kind of scary, you know?” he said.

His neighbor, Talentin Gutierez showed a reporter a borrowed generator, worth about $2,000.  His was robbed the other day. Tonight, he will sleep in his car – wrecked from water damage – to guard the generator.

An hour later, a New York City Police Department officer looked on as four National Guards unloaded cases of bottled water and ready-to-eat emergency food packs outside a recently launched community center half a block away.

Looting and robberies have been up across all of New York City since Sandy hit, said the officer.

In Far Rockaway Peninsula, 15 people were charged with looting businesses on Wednesday. Reported arrests in Manhattan, Coney Island, Brooklyn, and Staten Island for looting at businesses like supermarkets and sneaker stores totaled 20 last week.

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