Let that be a lesson. Take in these criminals and expect your property to disappear.
It was only a few nights after the Occupy protesters began sleeping in his church sanctuary when Pastor Bob Brashears realized that his laptop was missing.
The refugees from Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park had found their way to his cavernous Presbyterian church on a cold winter evening, hoping to stay for a few nights, maybe longer. It was the latest stopover for the nomadic group, which has been living in a rotating series of churches since Mayor Michael Bloomberg shut down their camp in November.
“There was a sense of shock and sadness that it had happened,” said Brashears, whose laptop will soon be replaced by Occupy organizers. “And there’s a common understanding that if there’s one more theft in the church, that’s it.”
This is what the Occupy encampment has become: A band of homeless protesters with no place to go. Amid accusations of drug use and sporadic theft, they’ve been sleeping on church pews for weeks, consuming at least $20,000 of the funds that Occupy Wall Street still has in its coffers. Their existence is being hotly debated at Occupy meetings: Are these people truly “Occupiers” who deserve free food and a roof over their heads?
“We don’t do this out of charity,” said 34-year-old Ravi Ahmad, who works for Columbia University and volunteers with Occupy in her spare time. “We do this so that whoever wants to work in the movement can work in the movement. This is a meritocracy.”
But money is draining rapidly from Occupy’s various bank accounts, which currently amount to about $344,000. Including church maintenance costs and meals, living expenses are more than $2,000 per week.
Meanwhile, as soon as they allowed the mutants back into Zuccotti Park yesterday they started up again with the criminal behavior. They won’t be there long, since these brave occupiers just can’t handle the weather.
The big Occupy Wall Street crowd that filled Zuccotti Park after barricades were removed dwindled to a couple of dozen people Wednesday night as temperatures dropped.
Maintenance workers rousted shivering demonstrators who tried to lie down in defiance of a no-sleeping rule. One protester was arrested when he cussed out cops trying to evict a group who carried in a tent, witnesses said.
The die-hards said they were there to stay. “If you don’t like the cold, occupy Key West,” said James McGuinness, 55, of Queens.