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Theft victim hunts for stolen bikes in 'homeless hotel'

Theft victim hunts for stolen bikes in 'homeless hotel'
Posted at 6:21 PM, Aug 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-30 22:00:19-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A Hillcrest man in search of his stolen bikes made a startling discovery when he stepped into an abandoned church.

Early Wednesday morning, surveillance video shows two men stealing three pricey bikes after cutting a metal lock for a garage, as Wilbur Kookmyer slept inside his condo on Georgia Street.

"Felt angry, felt violated," said Kookmyer.

A day later, Kookmyer went in search of his bikes and he didn't go far. Next door - inside an abandoned church at Park Boulevard and Meade Avenue - a security guard agreed to let him have a look.

Room after room, he found belongings left behind: clothes, food, and even a drone. In one room is a makeshift bed. There is a bike in another, but it's not his.

"It's a homeless hotel. They come and go as they please. Free of charge," said Kookmyer.

But mostly, what Kookmyer sees is filth.

"Smells like urine and feces. Needles and trash. It's just disgusting. Looks like a landfill and a health hazard," said Kookmyer.

The church was sold last year to a developer. LMC North Park Holdings is still awaiting permits to demolish the site. In the meantime, it's become a campground for transients.

"Constantly coming and going. Get everything boarded up, but breaking back in every time," said Kookmyer.

While Kookmyer was recording, they ran into several people, who were escorted off the property. Kookmeyer says since the church was sold, he's seen a spike in crime - from vandalism to home and car break-ins.

"My next-door neighbor caught someone breaking in and using his shower," said Kookmyer.

Wilbur says it's time for the demolition to happen and for security to be stepped up.

"There's no excuse for it being this filthy and creating that much trouble for people around the church," said Kookmyer.

A spokesperson for LMC North Park Holdings issued this statement:

“We share the concerns of the neighbors and are working diligently to better secure the site until we are able to obtain the permits necessary to begin demolition. The security team, which is contracted to be on site 24/7, is having some difficulty, so we are in the process of obtaining additional resources to better control access. We have also scheduled contractors to repair damage to the fence and given the police the authority to make arrests.”