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Homeless turn Goodwill roof into living space

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Homeless turn  Goodwill roof into living space

Manteca patrolman Steve Beermann eyes a transient encampment on the roof of the Manteca Goodwill store Tuesday morning that sent telltale marijuana smoke into the interior of the store.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED August 8, 2012 1:11 a.m.

Transients in their late 20s living on the roof of a commercial building were forced to find new living quarters after they decided to smoke marijuana near the Goodwill Store’s air conditioning unit in the 1400 block of West Yosemite Avenue.

Manteca police were first called to the store last Thursday and again Tuesday morning when the Goodwill staff once again smelled the marijuana as it began to filter into their store at about 8 a.m.  They added that they had also been hearing footsteps on the roof above them.

The encampment included makeshift wiring to power a hot plate, a television set and a waffle iron.  Police and firefighters who made use of the fire department’s 100-foot ladder discovered a mattress, a makeshift tent, an ice chest with mayonnaise, milk and a cantaloupe and men’s, women’s and children’s clothing.

Firefighters and police officers scaled a ladder on Tuesday mounted to the side of the building that the couple were believed to have used to gain access to the top of the building.

A flat steel panel had been locked over the ladder rungs to prevent any unauthorized person from making their way up to the roof.  However, as police firefighters surmised, they had used the steel mounting supports as footholds instead of the rungs to bypass the blocking panel.

A neighbor across the alley fence reported seeing the couple regularly “scamper up and down the ladder” at dusk – about 8 p.m. every night.  They obviously had first pick of the clothing and household item donations left at the back door of the Goodwill Store and had rigged up a pulley system to get those items of choice up to their “penthouse” living quarters.

One man who witnessed their operation said the man was of stocky build with tattoos down one arm.  The woman weighed about 110 pounds, he said, and was of slight build.  He had also confiscated a plastic container filled with some 125 used hypodermic needles early-on that were turned over to the police Tuesday.  He said he had feared that children might find them and be injured or infected in the process.

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