On the first night of the storm, burglars "were hitting businesses from 3 a.m. until it got bright," he said. "They didn't have to worry about [security] lights or alarms."
He said he feared burglars also would try to break into uninhabited houses.
"These knuckleheads are going to be in there for the copper," he said.
The township remained under a state of emergency.
Bucks County spokeswoman Juliet Kelchner said none of the other 53 municipalities in Bucks County had made a similar request for National Guard troops. But the storm exacted other tolls: In Levittown, two teenage brothers were seriously hurt when they were struck outside their Blue Ridge Drive house by falling oak tree branches. And across the region, power outages continued to leave people in the cold and dark.
Peco reported Tuesday night that 473,000 customers remained without service, down from 850,000. Bucks County had 180,000 customers without power, Chester 37,000, Delaware 38,000, Montgomery 158,000, and Philadelphia 60,000.
As of Tuesday evening, an estimated 274 people remained in shelters in Philadelphia, Montgomery County, and Bucks County. Delaware County and Chester County shelters had closed.
Police in Upper Merion Township were investigating whether a portable generator being used in a house that had lost power may have caused the death of a 90-year-old woman. Emergency workers who arrived at the house detected high levels of carbon monoxide.
Mayor Nutter announced that city government offices and courts would reopen Wednesday. SEPTA expected to operate trains, subways, and buses on a normal schedule, and most local colleges planned to reopen. Philadelphia public and archdiocesan schools were scheduled to reopen, too.
As Nutter watched more rainfall on Philadelphia late Tuesday, he said he was proud that his city had survived Sandy, was weary from lack of sleep, and was a little surprised at his growing experience at handling emergencies. He has steered Philadelphia through multiple snowstorms, an earthquake, Hurricane Irene, and, now, Sandy.
It's experience no one wants, and Nutter said he has worked hard to figure out how best to get the public to understand the risks of natural disasters.
"Communicating a message of this nature is difficult," he said. "On the one hand, you run the risk of scaring people. On the other hand, people will say, it's really not that bad, they're just saying that. And striking that balance is a bit of a challenge."
Most people were glad to see Sandy go, but for some the storm proved a bounty.
John Donnelly was whistling a lumberjack's tune Tuesday because business was good. The owner of Action Tree Service in Havertown was busy taking down trees and limbs, at times stretching a white crane high overhead.
"Great morning if you're a tree guy," said Donnelly. "I love mornings like this - trees down all over the place. . . . I really can't keep up with the work."
Officials said Lower Merion Township would remain in a state of emergency until midnight Tuesday, with nearly 90 roads still blocked by downed trees and wires, traffic lights out at many intersections, and thousands of homes without power.
"I certainly feel the pain of my fellow residents," said Norristown Councilman Marlon Millner. "My power is still not on."
On Tuesday he began a quest to find a kerosene heater - and located one, thankful to be able to offer warmth to his wife and two small children. Millner, who lives in the North End district, near the Elmwood Park Zoo, said trees and a light pole were down there and public-works crews were busy.
For many Philadelphia residents, the word of the day was gratitude.
In the Holmesburg section, Kristan McGuckin stood outside her Cresco Avenue home, watching as her husband, sons, and neighbors worked to dismantle a massive tree that had crashed down to the road. The spruce, which had loomed above their two-story home, could have done serious damage if it had fallen in the other direction.
"The first half went down, then I watched the rest go down from the porch," said McGuckin, an emergency-room nurse at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "We're lucky no one was hurt. . . . And I think the city and the mayor did a great job of keeping everybody safe."
The Manayunk neighborhood, victim of so many floods, never flooded or closed during Sandy - and its Main Street stores remained open for business.
Traveling the back roads of Chestnut Hill and Mount Airy was to follow a trail of broken trees, accompanied by a soundtrack of chainsaws.
On Gravers Lane, Monika Hemmers, a retired real estate agent, was out in the cold drizzle, shoveling wet leaves off the road to prevent cars from slipping.
"We were lucky," she said. "We just had a lot of wind."
The sound of the rain pelting the roof and the violent gusts rattling the windows was enough to make her 28-year-old daughter nervous. "She came downstairs and said, 'I know I was afraid when I was 5 years old, but I'm afraid tonight.' "
Bill Haines, who has worked on the maintenance crew of Springside and Chestnut Hill Academy for more than 30 years, got up at 2 a.m. to start work. Near Arcadia University he found a huge tree toppled across Church Road.
"I said to myself, 'Oh, no. It's going to be one of those days!' "
When he arrived at the private schools' campus, he discovered that a 120-foot maple had plummeted onto the brand-new running track, tearing through the rubber and puncturing the Astroturf.
Contact Jeff Gammage at 215-854-2415, email@example.com, or on Twitter @JeffGammage.
Contributing to this article were Inquirer staff writers Susan Snyder, Anthony R. Wood, Inga Saffron, Rita Giordano, Allison Steele, Daniel Rubin, Dylan Purcell, Carolyn Davis, Bonnie L. Cook, Bill Reed, Amy Worden, Melissa Dribben, Jessica Parks, and Miriam Hill.