LOS ANGELES – More than 60 adults and at least four minors were arrested during a raid Wednesday on a vacant building without electricity in Hollywood, where a number of people had been squatting, Los Angeles, police said.
A search warrant was served before the dawn of the Hollywood Boulevard and the officers went through the building, room by room, over several hours. Two firearms, a shotgun and a rifle and drugs were seized, the officials said.
Jasmine Acosta, 25, told the Los Angeles Times that the area had recently been converted into an artistic community and many people were living in the four-story building.
Acosta said that they had stayed there “on and off” for a few months, and some of the residents had tried to get to lighting and painting walls.
Squatters took over after the most recent tenant, a comedy theatre, left earlier this year.
“It’s like a safe house that we on the boulevard,” Acosta said.
Cities in California are cracking down on illegally converted spaces after the death of 36 people in a fire at an unlicensed concert in an abandoned Oakland warehouse known as the “Ghost Ship.” Two men are facing involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with that blaze.
Most of the people being held in Hollywood, were released after being cited for trespassing. Who had warrants for their arrest remained in custody, said Detective Meghan Aguilar.
The building has no electrical service, but Aguilar said residents had pulled wires out, create potentially unsafe situations.
The stench of human waste was overwhelming, and the trash was piled up on the floors, police said. Air mattresses, blankets and pillows were spread. Some rooms have a microwave and a coffee maker.
Some residents told the Times that she paid the rent — approximately $400 per month for the upper floor. Aguilar said detectives have not confirmed whether there were people giving money to a landlord or someone who had designated themselves — legally or not — as a property manager.