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Alleged Looters Smash, Rob Stores in Coney Island, the Rockaways

By  Murray Weiss Fred Dreier and Alan Neuhauser | October 31, 2012 9:55am | Updated on October 31, 2012 2:31pm

NEW YORK — Hundreds of cops descended on Coney Island and The Rockaways Tuesday night, arresting more than a dozen people who allegedly looted eight stores during the blackout caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Fifteen people were charged with burglary after breaking into a liquor store, a Radio Shack and clothing stores in Far Rockaway, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

“Having personally viewed yesterday the devastation that encompasses the Rockaway peninsula and other areas of Queens, I want to make it clear that such lawlessness will be vigorously prosecuted by my office and that we will seek appropriate punishment," Brown said in a statement.

Police sources added that officers made many burglary arrests in the 100th and 101st precincts in Queens, and in the 60th Precinct in Brooklyn.

In the Rockaways:

·                     Three suspects were arrested at a Radio Shack 87-09 Rockaway Beach Blvd.

·                     Two people were arrested for allegedly burglarizing Rock Jetty Win and Spirits at 97-08 Rockaway Beach Blvd.

·                     Two were allegedly caught burglarizing a store at 85-14 Rockaway Beach Blvd.

·                     Six were arrested at the Gulf gas station, 38-01 Beach Channel Drive.

·                     Two people were arrested for allegedly breaking into 57 Food Market at 57-25 Shore Front Parkway.

·                     One person was arrested for stealing a pair of boots from a clothing store at Beach 86th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. 

In Coney Island:

·                     One person was arrested at Mermaid Avenue and West Street.

·                     Another suspect was arrested at Neptune Avenue and 36th Street.

Nearly all the suspects in the Rockaways break-ins lived in Queens, near the stores that were burglarized.

Businesses on the south side of Mermaid Avenue near 30th and 31st streets appeared to have sustained the worst damage. Citibank, Family Drug Store and 99 Cent and Up, in particular, had gaping holes in their metal roll-down gates. Storefront windows of Mega Aid Pharmacy were also smashed, and merchandise littered the ground outside.

By nightfall, cops stood on every block of Mermaid Avenue, intensifying in number as the road approached Sea Gate and Coney Island's western shore. Close to 100 officers and dozens of police cars were outside Fine Fare supermarket on 29th Street, and cops were starting to set-up mobile lighting units at 30th and 32nd streets.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Morkowitz praised elected officials response to the storm, but urged additional measures in response to the reports of looting.

“Governor Cuomo also acted quickly by activating the National Guard prior to the storm, and I urge him to allocate as many troops as possible to Brooklyn,” Markowitz said in a statement Wednesday. “All of our resources have been stretched to the limit, but in the name of public safety we need to send more National Guard personnel”

Visit the DNAinfo.com New York homepage for full Hurricane Sandy coverage.