More Than Rescue Items Taken From Store In Sandy
When volunteer firefighters in Seaside Heights broke into an Army-Navy store during Superstorm Sandy, officials said they did so to get supplies critical to ongoing rescue operations.
But The Star-Ledger found out through an Open Public Records request that much more than rescue gear went missing.
The newspaper reported Wednesday that a wide variety of merchandise was taken, including Elvis and Betty Boop plates, GI Joe statues, Swiss bayonets, handbags, comic books and golf balls.
The items were all on a bill the store submitted to the borough, which recently paid the ransacked store $185,000 in compensation.
"The town made it as right as it could under the circumstances," said store owner Ted Domaracki. "We're thankful the store is back open. We're thankful business wasn't as bad as it could have been this summer."
Seaside Heights officials say the firefighters only took rescue supplies, and that looters might have taken other items after the firefighters had left.
They also say FBI officials inquired recently about the incident. The FBI has declined to comment.
Mayor Bill Akers said Seaside Heights did not ask the federal Emergency Management Agency for reimbursement for the cost of the non-emergency items taken from the store. "They were not put in as part of the claim," he told the newspaper. "None of those items were put in."
The bill Domaracki submitted to the borough included T-shirts, Army jackets, polo shirts, bagged underwear, rain ponchos and jackets and jeans — all things that could have been used during or shortly after the emergency.
But other items included 79 assorted handbags at $1,659; books, toys and games worth a total of $647; and eight golf balls for $44. The owners billed Seaside Heights an additional $5,600 for the cleanup.
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