Police break up homeless camp in Costa Mesa

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on May 17, 2012 in Rat News | Subscribe

A Costa Mesa homeless encampment adorned with animal rights posters and graffiti could have been shelter to suspects connected to a recent spate of burglaries, police said Thursday.

Police discovered the elaborate encampment beneath a San Diego (405) Freeway underpass where the Santa Ana River meets Moon Park, 3377 California St.

Officers believe six to eight men have been living in the encampment for about two years, said Costa Mesa Police Sgt. Vic Bakkila.

Police came upon the camp after an officer saw a suspicious-looking man go under the overpass, according to Bakkila.

Authorities had increased patrols in the area because of a recent uptick in burglaries.

In the encampment, police found a cache of bikes and watches, although where the items came from and whether they were stolen was immediately unknown. Police were working to determine whether the items were connected to the recent burglaries.

Posters from the nationwide activist group Animal Liberation Front, including images of police inspecting Dorothy’s basket, from “The Wizard of Oz,” and one with the phrase, “Even vegans want to slaughter pigs,” were displayed at the camp.

 The men, who were mostly in their 20s, kept a one-eyed Rottweiler wearing a shell for a tag and two rats in cages. The camp also had a kitchen complete with a stove, instant noodles, vegan mayo and bedroom- and living room-like areas, with beds and couches.

The riverbed below the encampment was filled with feces, urine, sex toys and garbage.

One of the men was a combat veteran eligible for services to which police offered to connect him.

Police offered the other men means to get to their hometowns as part of the city’s plan to reduce homelessness in the area, but the men declined.

One of the suspects had a warrant out for his arrest and was taken into custody.

The group also may be connected to vandalism at the Meat House on 17th Street in Costa Mesa because similar animal rights graffiti was found at the camp, although the connection is still under investigation.


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