BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown had sharp words for looters Monday who have broken into and stolen items from several stores around the city during the Blizzard of 2022.
Videos of ransacked stores and businesses with people running out with various items have been shared broadly on TikTok, Facebook, and other social media platforms.
The mayor called these people the "lowest of the low."
"People who are out looting when people are losing their lives in this harsh winter storm it's just absolutely reprehensible I don't know how they can live with themselves," said Mayor Brown during a joint press conference with Erie County and State Officials including Governor Kathy Hochul.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia who also spoke at the press conference said that police are aware of these incidents and working to get a full count of how many there have been.
"We have made a few arrests we have intervened in some of those, we've assisted with at least one location that I am aware of in getting a store boarded up so our officers are out there," said Commissioner Gramaglia.
That store is believed to be Rick's Sports Apparel near Allen Street and Elmwood Avenue according to a tip shared with 2 On Your Side. The store had its windows broken, got looted, and was boarded up Monday night.
The Commissioner added that officers are starting to get back to their patrol duties which would include monitoring looting and theft. Since Friday the focus has been on the snow emergency and saving lives.
"It's heartbreaking. When this is all over the community will have nowhere to go to get the things they need," said Robert Smallwood, an employee at Camellia Meats.
Smallwood had flagged down 2 On Your Side's Dave McKinley Monday morning and said that the Family Dollar at Genesee Street and Zenner Street was in the middle of being looted. Several videos show people with bags of items who had just exited the store.
Inside the Family Dollar, there were items tossed off of shelves, and boxes were thrown everywhere.
Patrick Cichocki, one of the owners of Camellia Meats told 2 On Your Side that the Broadway Market was also broken into. They have a retail outlet in the market and he said their cash register was stolen, fortunately with nothing in it.
"They're breaking into the Rent To Own, they're taking TV sets," said Cichocki, who blamed the justice system for this fallout during the blizzard.
"They're not looting food and medicines, they're just looting items that they want so these aren't even people in distress these are people that are taking advantage of a natural disaster," Mayor Brown said.
As the Buffalo Police Department continues to investigate these incidents tips can be shared using the confidential Tip Line at 716-847-2255.