Up to sixty decomposing bodies were reportedly found in the back of unrefrigerated trucks and on the floor of a funeral home after neighbours complained of a foul smell.
Police officers allegedly found two U-Haul trucks piled high with rotting bodies outside Andrew Cleckley Funeral Services in Utica Avenue, Flatlands, Brooklyn, on Wednesday.
It comes as official figures show 23,474 coronavirus deaths in New York, as well as 306,158 cases in the state.
A video shows bodies on top of each other without shelving in a truck’s trailer.
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While people in one clip are seen in hazmat suits moving around the scene among officers looking distressed.
A nearby shop owner is understood to have reported the vehicles after smelling a strong odour and seeing what appeared to be blood leaking out onto the street.
John DiPietro, who owns a nearby property, told the New York Post : “You don’t respect the dead that way. That could have been my father, my brother.”
The newspaper also reported the funeral home informed the police the bodies were supposed to be being taken to a crematorium, but the pick up didn’t happen.
As well as the U-Haul trucks, the home had an additional two trucks storing corpses as well as a third containing empty coffins, police sources told the Post.
However, the funeral director told Eyewitness News no bodies were being kept in U-Haul trucks, claiming they were packed with furniture to make room inside the home for the bodies.
The director added corpses were either in a separate refrigerated truck or in the morgue.
In a video, one neighbour, wearing a face mask, said: “There was blood leaking out, very bad. They’ve been doing this for weeks now.”
He went on to say the bodies are being continually filled up and “left to sit on the street”.
The man added the owner of a store down the street “discovered blood on the ground” leaking out of the back of one of the trailers and “made a phone call”.
“I just thought these bodies have been carried out all month long in body bags.”
Another man said: “It’s a little depressing but it is what it is.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who was on the scene, said the city needed to ramp up staff for a “bereavement committee” as deaths continue to rise.
“When you find bodies in trucks like this throughout our city, treating them in an undignified manner, that’s unacceptable,” he added.
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