Tenants said the landlords, Jeff and David Pace, have kept them from recovering property because the city's asbestos removal orders won't allow it. The landlords did not return calls for comment.
Tenants blast city cleanup at gas explosion
Meanwhile, residents said they are left to imagine what might be filling up the giant red trash bins that are hauled off.
"All of the stuff from my apartment and my bedroom was thrown into the parking lot, from the window of my room," said Patricia Prieto, 45, who lived in 2-N, and was stopped from recovering her jewelry from a heap of trash.
When Prieto saw the bag with her passport on Friday, she tried to grab for it. "They told me not to try again or I would get arrested," she said.
She returned on Sunday to find firefighters had kept the bag, which had also contained credit cards and a wallet. "They said they needed it for the investigation. I don't know what kind of investigation needed that," she said.
Later, she begged police to let her in her apartment. "A policeman who escorted me said he would be in trouble, but he did it anyway without permission, because I begged him," she said, breaking down twice while recalling the ordeal. "I only had five minutes."
The city Department of Environmental Protection, which the landlord has blamed for barring the tenants, denied that there were any orders to prevent tenants from gathering belongings. The agency said only two units required asbestos abatement.
The DEP also denied ordering the disposal of valuables.
Photo from Queens Courier