Steampunk group says they were escorted out of Carlsbad mall because of their clothing

CARLSBAD, Calif. - A local group of steampunk aficionados are talking to 10News, saying they were escorted out of the Westfield Plaza Camino Real shopping center in Carlsbad last Sunday simply for the way they were dressed.

They wanted to ride the carousel but quickly found out if you are in costume, you are not allowed.

"We were all surprised," said steampunk fan Kim Keeline. "I mean, most of us have been doing this for years."

Surprise and hurt feelings now remain as the group of friends is feeling singled out because they dress a bit different than others.

"I think we should be judged by our actions rather than by the fact that our clothing seems slightly different than other people," she added.

Their clothing is different. That is because they embody what is known as steampunk.

"Steampunk is often described as Victorian-Era science fiction, retro futuris," said steampunk fan Jeffrey Vaca. "We have people dressed as coal miners right next to people dressed as aristocrats."

That is why they may have grabbed the attention of mall security on Feb. 9. 

In a photo shared with 10News, it was clear than even an Oceanside police officer was called in to keep an eye on the 40 or so friends, just in case.

Kim and James Keeline were eating at a McDonalds before their other friends arrived at the mall when they were first approached by a security guard.

"The mall people said, 'We have to ask you to leave.' It was just stunning to us," said James Keeline. "We definitely asked why and they said it was because we are in costume."

10News asked Westfield Camino Plaza Real why the group was asked to leave and were given this statement:

"Westfield welcomes all shoppers to visit our shopping centers and asks they abide by our centers' code of conduct during their visit for safety and security reasons."

Mall management also tells 10News they would gladly welcome the group at the carousel if they know when to expect them.

"I mean, I think it's nice to do that," added Kim Keeline. "I wish it hadn't happened to begin with though."

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