‘Lowest of the low’: N.Y. mayor slams criminals looting during deadly snowstorm
Law enforcement officials said the majority of looters are “just using the storm as an excuse to steal,” rather than out of desperation for essential supplies
By Geoff Herbert
BUFFALO, N.Y. — People looting stores during a historic winter storm are the “lowest of the low,” according to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.
WIVB reports Buffalo police have responded to multiple reports of businesses being looted after a blizzard shut down much of the Western New York city. Officers have made “a few arrests” and helped board up some stores that were broken into.
Social media posts have shown people allegedly breaking into and robbing a Family Dollar, a 7-Eleven and Nickel City Liquor, though a viral video from a “ransacked” Walmart was later said to be from a Philadelphia store in 2020. The Buffalo News reports a nearby Dollar General and a Rite Aid Pharmacy also appeared to have been looted, while the Broadway Market reported stolen or damaged items including a safe, cash registers, an ATM machine, and vendor stands.
Law enforcement told WIVB that the vast majority of looters are “just using the storm as an excuse to steal,” rather than out of desperation for essential supplies. The Buffalo News reports about a dozen gas stations also reported looting or damage, affecting first responders and preventing fuel pumps from working.
“People who are out looting when people are losing their lives in this harsh winter storm is just absolutely reprehensible,” Brown said Monday. “I don’t know how these people can even live with themselves, how they can look at themselves in the mirror. They are the lowest of the low.
“And from some of the pictures that we’ve seen on social media of these looters, they’re not looting foods and medicines. They’re just looting items that they want. So these aren’t people in distress — these are people that are taking advantage of a natural disaster and the suffering of many in our community to take what they want from retailers — also potentially putting (emergency response) services at risk in the communities where they are looting.”
Many stores, including all Wegmans and Tops locations in two counties, were closed Friday through Monday as the region got hammered by as much as four feet of snow. At least 28 people have died in Western New York from the storm, and more deaths are expected as snowfall continues Tuesday.
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