Police in San Jose, California, found an underground homeless encampment with rifles and thousands of dollars worth of stolen goods, authorities announced Tuesday.
The shelter was in Coyote Creek and Wool Creek Drive, San Jose Police Department said in a Tuesday post on Twitter.
An investigation into a commercial burglary incident led officers to the encampment.
“A total of six suspects were for a variety of charges,” police wrote.
2/ A total of 6 suspects were arrested for a variety of charges.
The stolen tools, equipment, and firearms will be returned to the victims, including the locally owned business.
Great job team!! 🚔👮🏽♂️👮🏼👍🏽
— San José Police Media Relations (@SJPD_PIO) July 12, 2022
The homeless thieves had roughly $100,000 worth of stolen goods with them, according to the local police department.
Pictures police released showed that the homeless occupants built the underground shelter near the side of the creek. Police said building the bunker “definitely required some construction and engineering skills.”
Items the thieves had in possession included several power tools and construction equipment.
The thieves also had three shotguns and several boxes of ammunition with them, according to photos released by the local police department.
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“The stolen tools, equipment, and firearms will be returned to the victims, including the locally owned business,” police said.
According to the San Jose Police Department, the inhabitants of the shelter also had access to electricity.
“I imagine there are probably several more places like that around town, with just how frequently tools in specific are being taken from construction sites,” Ashley King, a neighbor, told KGO-TV.
“Not only is it our home being affected. But more than that, I worry about them,” King said of the workers fixing her family home. “And their livelihood, because it’s not gonna be so easy to replace some of this large equipment.”
“To see weapons like that, rifles, stuff that could do damage, serious damage,” King, who teaches the eighth grade at a local school, said. “Weapons that could hurt anybody, especially children, from far away, with precision… That is just so incredibly disturbing.”
“I’m scared! We have to be safe,” another resident in the area who said she had been a victim of theft told KGO-TV. “There’s children nearby.”
During the pandemic, San Jose experienced an 11 percent growth in its homeless population, San Jose Spotlight reported.
“The traditional approach to building housing is not fast enough to meet the urgency of this homelessness crisis,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a June 21 news release.
“San José is expanding on our success of quick-build interim housing, tackling unsheltered homelessness head on and embracing nimble, innovative approaches that enable cost-effective and rapid solutions while remaining committed to permanent housing for our most vulnerable residents,” Liccardo said.
The city plans on tackling the issue by constructing “400 more emergency interim housing units, purchasing the 89-room Arena Hotel with state Homekey funds and financing 561 new affordable housing units,” city authorities said.