Vigilantes root out rooftop camps on Garnet

Ladder behind the 7-Eleven was the clue

"Sanitary conditions are pretty bad."

Residents and business owners in Pacific Beach have taken it upon themselves to help tackle the problem of rooftop encampments.

Vacant Garnet building. "We found stashed belongings – but no people – on top of another building by using the drone.”

“We get lots of backlash,” one member who wished to remain anonymous told me. “We are a large group of PB Neighborhood Watch & Crime Watch residents and business owners. We have high thefts in our area and are always looking for stashed or stolen property… our focus really is to get Letter of Agency/ trespass authorization forms for the businesses having this issue.”

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"Another location received reports of a mattress on the rooftop."

"Tom" shared images he took after he was given access to the rooftop at 7-Eleven at Garnet Ave. and Pendleton (four blocks east of Lamont).

“One of the members witnessed people climbing up the ladder behind this 7-Eleven,” he explained. “The following day I spoke with the employees and property manager. They gave me access to the rooftop and that’s when I discovered the encampment. The sanitary conditions are pretty bad as you can see those are two big cups of urine next to the guy sleeping… police were contacted, the property manager was notified and a [Letter of Agency] form is being filled out.”

When asked how they planned on checking all the rooftops, he explained the obvious solution.

“We’re currently looking for other locations – successfully – by drone. We discovered more stashed items on top of the vacant Radio Shack, another location received reports of a mattress on the rooftop, we are currently investigating that too, as well as two more reports of roof campers along Garnet, plus, this morning, (12/15/18) we found stashed belongings – but no people – on top of another building by using the drone.”

I spoke with the manager of the 7-Eleven on Garnet Ave, who confirmed the incident.

“The police came this morning,” Martel told us on December 15, “But they didn’t catch anyone, no one was up there today but said they’ll come back if we find anyone up there again.”

A Letter of Agency form allows the San Diego Police Department to act as the agent for the owner of private property to enforce laws.

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