The Buffalo Police Department announced Tuesday that it had arrested eight would-be looters seeking to take advantage of the chaos amid an ongoing major winter storm that has thus far killed dozens in western New York alone.

In what New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul described as the “blizzard of the century,” authorities have recovered at least 18 bodies within the Buffalo city limits, for a total of 27 dead within the county. At least 51 have died nationwide as a result of the storm.

Authorities have confirmed that those arrested were not seeking essential goods for survival, but rather pilfering luxuries at a time of lax security.

“This isn’t people stealing food and medicine and diapers. They are destroying stores, they’re stealing televisions, couches, whatever they can get their hands on,” said Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia in a Tuesday press conference. “They’re opportunists, they’re taking advantage. And all you’re doing is destroying the resource you have.”

Many residents remain without power and certain basic utilities. Erie County Emergency Services Commissioner Daniel Neaverth confirmed Monday that more than a dozen gas stations in the county were out of commission due to inoperable equipment or looting on the “convenience side.”

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