According to several witnesses CityBeat spoke with... at around 11 a.m., police cars and a city trash truck pulled up near God's Extended Hand, a homeless-services mission located at 16th and Island avenues in East Village. A group of homeless people who normally camped on the sidewalk along Island, near an empty lot, had left their stuff behind-shopping carts, bedrolls, backpacks-to have lunch at the mission. City workers started throwing the items into the truck, witnesses said, where they were then compacted. When people tried to retrieve their stuff, they were told it was too late.
While the city's municipal code says it's illegal for personal items to obstruct the public right-of-way and unattended items "whose owner cannot be readily identified are presumed to be abandoned," the law also says: "Wherever possible, Enforcement Officials shall make a reasonable effort to ascertain whether the unattended personal property or possessions have been abandoned," and "unattended personal property or possessions that are sanitary and saleable or useable and of a value greater than one hundred dollars ($100) shall be transferred as soon as is practicable to the Chief of Police."
Police confirmed that no items were turned over.