While there was no widespread looting in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc throughout the state, some looters took advantage of power outages to cause mayhem, says the Newark Star-Ledger. In Seaside Heights, where Sandy obliterated decades-old piers and waterfront homes, as many as 20 homes and businesses were raided, according to Mayor Bill Akers.
Many of the thefts involved people smashing into corner stores and swiping water or cigarettes while the neighborhood was darkened. Joseph Plaia, whose family owns the Seaside Sands Inn, said he watched crowds of people smash into local delis the day after the storm. "It was basically straight anarchy," Plaia said. "It was just disgusting." Jersey City Deputy Police Chief Peter Nalbach said that "during the period we had no electricity and it was dark, some people took advantage of the opportunity," State Sen. Barbara Buono announced legislation calling on courts to consider stiffer sentences for people accused of theft and burglary during a state of emergency.