There is growing outrage in the Bronx as owners of looted businesses are sharing their stories about what they consider the failed police Monday night into Tuesday morning, as their stores were ransacked amid police protests.
Some of those shop owners say that they called the NYPD for help as they could only watch on security camera as their businesses were destroyed, but their desperate calls for help were never answered.
Patrick Morocho gets emotional talking about rampaging looters who ravaged this neighborhood in the University Heights section of the Bronx.
“All the phones, all the tablets, they took everything, they didn’t leave anything,” Morocho said. “They came with a truck to clean out everything…it was a catastrophe. I couldn’t do anything.”
He said he called 911 repeatedly starting at 11 p.m. and was almost killed trying to stop the thieves from tearing through his electronics store, stealing computers and even large appliances. But police only showed up five or six hours after everything was done, Morocho said.
Two neighborhood pharmacy owners were helpless as their businesses were turned over by looters, with security camera footage showing some of the perpetrators even trying to smash the cash register.
“These are criminals. We never saw police presence, they never came to the store,” said one of the owners.
Jessica Betancourt owns an eyeglass store that she witnessed get wiped out as well. She said she has security video and call logs that support the timeline of the other owners.
“From 11:30 p.m., when everything started, until literally the last person that came in this store, at 5:30 in the morning – no help, no cops. And now I’m angry because nothing was done,” Betancourt said. “They forgot about the Bronx. They forgot about this ZIP code, this is part of the five boroughs.”
The business owners reacted to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement of a financial grant program where small businesses could get up to $10,000 to help them repair and rebuild, with some saying that would barely begin to cover their expenses. The owners said they wouldn’t need grants had they been properly protected, and are now planning to demand a meeting with the commanding officer of the 46th Precinct.
The NYPD did not return a request for comment.