EUREKA- A raid of an illegal homeless camp behind Bayshore Mall on Tuesday morning turned up a cache of guns, biycles and drugs. One man was arrested in that raid, but the Police Chief Andrew Mills with the Eureka Police Department says this find is just a small part of an even larger problem.
During the raid, the EPD POP Unit dismantled a bike shop which contained multiple stolen bicycles and bike parts.
"Some of these tents are completely filled with property. So we're working on it hard. We've got some plans that we'll continue to move forward in the future, but the main thing we're staying on top of is the violence,” said Police Chief Mills.
Four firearms and meth were also found at the site. Fifty-three-year-old Timothy Lynn Stockhoff of Eureka was arrested.
"If it's criminal in nature, from the standpoint that you've got firearms out here or they're shooting at people or you're doing a lot of thefts, we're coming after you," Police Chief Mills said.
But Police Chief Mills says getting as many homeless people as possible into housing is the ultimate goal.
“We've got to stop this level of chaos, because it's an environmental degradation that's just unbelievable. We have people spray painting and leaving the cans and the over spray in the marsh area here, which is sensitive habitat. And we've got people defecating and urinating out here and next to the bay or in the bay,” said Police Chief Mills.
However, authorities say it won’t be an overnight process.
“We're out here literally removing hundreds of tons of trash, and that all comes out of the city coffers, not to mention the police time, the parks and recreation staff time, and all the other. So we've got a long way to go. I think we're heading in the right direction,” Police Chief Mills said.
In the meantime, police want you to follow these steps to protect yourself from property crimes.
"By securing bicycles and locking cars and making sure things aren't in the cars, those are prime targets for many of the folks who are stealing, whether they're out here or somewhere else, so anything we do to help prevent is a positive step," said Police Chief Mills.
Police did not locate the other suspect at the homeless encampment. That suspect is 27-year-old Joshua Allen Stockhoff of Eureka. He is the son of Timothy Lynn Stockhoff.
Investigators also located a Del Norte County woman at the camp along with her two young children, ages four and six. Both of the children were taken into protective custody.