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Looters push a TV screen through the snow. Twitter

Looters take advantage of ‘storm of the century’ in US

Looters in the US took advantage of heavy snowfall in the Buffalo area to rob numerous shops.

Published: January 1, 2023, 6:09 am


    As extreme cold descended on the northern United States for several days, shopkeepers in the city of Buffalo, New York, also had to endure the onslaught of looters and other vandals who robbed their shops as temperatures reached as low as -40˚ Celsius.

    “I was able to see the robbery of my diner live on my closed circuit TV,” one restaurateur told Spectrum News One, a local TV station. “But I was stuck at home in the storm, unable to respond and the police were overwhelmed. They destroyed my restaurant looking for cash, they smashed the cash registers but when they couldn’t open them, they took them away and destroyed the whole computer system…”

    The looting was widespread. “All the grocery shops and shops in the neighbourhood were looted, so even if people had been able to get to the shops, everything was empty,” said another resident. The only supermarket in the area had closed as soon as the storms started.

    The city’s mayor, Democrat Byron Brown, slammed the looters and accused them of forcing the police to focus on tracking down criminals at a time when many people needed help. This sentiment was shared by police chief Joseph Gramaglia: “These are not people who steal food, medicine or baby nappies. They are ransacking shops, stealing TVs, sofas, anything they can get their hands on.”

    More than a dozen looters have been arrested.

    At least 53 people have died across the country, including 31 in Erie County alone, which includes the city of Buffalo. The US media has reported horrifying accounts of people dying in their cars or stranded in their homes without electricity and therefore without heat for days as temperatures dropped.

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