(Special thanks to WNYC’s Fred Mogul for speaking to residents about their return home, and for the wonderful reporting and piece!)
The “looting” at the facility was the type that took a lot of meticulous snooping and sifting; I was there with Fred Mogul when residents discovered they were victimized. Envelopes inside of envelopes emptied of cash and vital documents, then neatly returned to their original positions. Not a messy rifling through of drawers and such, which makes me think it was someone who had a LOT of time to sift though every locked cabinet and drawer.
Listen to the story by clicking this link (written transcript below):
News story audio: WNYC’s Fred Mogul Speaks to Belle Harbor Residents On Their Return Home, 2/16/13
(My note: Here I am in my favorite coat talking to Karen Turnbull as residents step off the bus and return home for the first time in 107 days.)
Fred Mogul, Reporter, WNYC News
Fred Mogul has been covering healthcare and medicine for WNYC since 2002.
FULL STORY FROM WNYC.ORG
Exiles Return: Months after Sandy, Adult Home Residents Go Back to the Rockaways
TRANSCRIPT: More than three months after Sandy forced them to evacuate, the residents of Belle Harbor Manor in the Rockaways returned to their home on Thursday. It’s the last of 22 evacuated adult residences to get its occupants back home (though three other residences remain closed indefinitely, as do three nursing homes, according to the state Health Department). And while the Belle Harbor Manor residents appreciated the shiny new linoleum floors and freshly painted walls, they also found some unwelcome surprises.
After festive welcome-home dinner, the residents, who suffer from a variety of mental illnesses and physical disabilities but are generally independent, were allowed to go to their rooms. Complaints about missing possessions quickly began filtering into the hallways.
“I opened the door and I saw this lock is broken,” said resident Jagdesh Trivedi. “Shoes are gone — two boxes of shoes — sunglasses are missing, and my Green Card and Social Security card are missing.”
A spokesman for Belle Harbor, Jonathan Greenspun, from the Mercury public relations and lobbying firm, said that all allegations of theft will be investigated, and residents will be compensated if they can prove possessions or cash are actually missing. But he also said that looting was widely reported throughout the Rockaways after Sandy, and that the operators of the home had worked tirelessly to repair facilities, so they could bring the residents back.
To listen to the full story, click the blue link above.