The owner of the Carlsbad Village Theatre signed an agreement with Carlsbad police on April 2 to help resolve the problem of loitering teenagers and transients who trample on his roof and gather outside the historical building’s main door at 2822 State Street.
The small theater has been a part of Carlsbad’s downtown since 1927 and hosts live stage performances and small-screen presentations.
“Nobody belongs on my roof,” said Tom McMahon. “The kids get up there and venture around. They have other places around Carlsbad to play without being on my roof.”
Homeless people also reportedly cause problems when they frequently cluster outside of the theater, McMahon said.
“When there’s five or six [people] on one of those little benches, they block the sidewalk,” he said. But a day after police asked McMahon to sign a trespassing affidavit, the problem was “cured,” McMahon said.
It’s a problem that’s escalated for the past three years, and the issue came to a head during a ten-day period when at least three calls were made to police by Clay Littrell, a tenant who resides with his wife above the theater in a 1000-square-foot apartment. Littrell called his apartment a “treasure” that he and his wife found nearly five years ago after McMahon posted the rental on Craigslist. The dwelling overlooks State Street and is a short stroll to the beach.
Littrell said he works with disabled individuals as an instructional assistant at MiraCosta College and that he is empathetic to all types of people. “But in the last two to three years, we’ve seen an uptick in groups of homeless,” Littrell said.
He also said there are problems with kids climbing over dumpsters and getting onto the roof. He said aside from that, a half dozen transients loiter on a bench just feet away from the theater’s main door.
Toward the end of March, Littrell called the Carlsbad police three times: once to report the teenagers on the roof and twice to report the group of transients who became belligerent toward him as he walked past them when exiting his residence. He said they ridiculed his dressy attire and told him they had a right to be where they were. But with the newly signed affidavit, they don’t have the privilege to loiter anymore.
Jodee Sasway, spokeswoman for the Carlsbad Police Department, said the Trespass Arrest Authorization Agreement form was created by the department and gives police the authority to remove trespassers from private property.
“It’s a tool we’ve used for a long time to aid property owners in resolving trespassing and loitering issues on their properties,” Sasway said. On April 3, after police responded to the call from Littrell, two of the trespassers were arrested and booked into the Vista detention facility for outstanding warrants, according to Sasway.
McMahon said that prior signing the affidavit, it wasn’t obvious to police that the groups of people were trespassing on his property. “We’re persevering, but [I] think the police are doing a good job now,” he said.