Looting in LBI, Toms River, Bay Head Have NJ Attorney General Adding Troopers [AUDIO]
In the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, New Jersey State Police bring in additional manpower to help support coastal communities.
"To help crack down on looting in shore ravaged towns, we have asked for extra troopers," said Jeff Chiesa, state Attorney General.
He said the penalties for those caught stealing from vulnerable residents homes and businesses will be severe.
"We can and will charge those we catch and will seek the harshest penalties which will include jail time."
He said there have already been incidents in Toms River, Bay Head and Long Beach Island.
State Police Colonel Rick Fuentes said in addition to troopers on land, they are also sending in extra marine units.
"Right now we have in these areas on the barriers in Ocean County...approximately eight of our boats are deployed and we're also bringing in some of our assets through the Office of Emergency Management through the state level and some troopers from out of state both to patrol the waters around the barrier islands and to provide extra security for storm-related crime and looting."
Fuentes said there are still gas leaks and electric issues that will require lengthy repairs.
"We are looking at a long amount of time when people are going to be allowed back into their homes, not only for safety reasons but because of infrastructure, we have to let the county department of engineering get in here and inspect whether or not these homes are structurally sound."
The Attorney General and Colonel would not give a specific date when residents along shore communities would be allowed to return to their homes, but said it would likely not be before early next week.
"The time-frame is as soon as we can allow them back over there in a safe way...and its something we are taking a look at every single day, but what we can't allow to have happen is to send people back to a situation that is not safe" said Chiesa.