UPDATED: Underground Bunker Constructed By Homeless And Stash of 1,000 Bikes Discovered On Santa Ana River Trail

stolen homeless bikes AB feat

In the wake of removing a 200-person homeless encampment on the Santa Ana River Trail in Fountain Valley, County of Orange officials discovered a well-constructed underground bunker and 1,000 bikes stashed in a flood control tunnel.  Also found was a half-loaded .357 magnum revolver that had been fired.

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The approximately 5×10 underground bunker is big enough for a 5′ 7″ person to stand erect. Steps led down into the bunker from a concealed hatch. The bunker was empty when it was discovered. Since the camp had already been cleared by then, officials are unclear how it was being used – but it’s hard to imagine its purpose was legitimate.

According to OC Public Works spokesman Shannon Widor:

“OC Public Works crew members were performing clean-up maintenance on the flood control property (removing debris and trash). A crew member saw a pile of dirt and observed a small section of carpet on the ground. When the carpet was removed, the crew member discovered a small wood cover and, upon lifting the wood, discovered it led to wood steps to the underground  compartment.  Whomever built the compartment used wood for the steps and for support beams in the underground compartment. It’s approximately a 5-10 ft square area and about 6 ft high.  It was discovered on flood control property on the back-side of the levee (opposite side from the cement channel).”

The discovery of the bunker and enormous cache of stolen bikes raises the question of what might be found in the much larger homeless encampment by Angel Stadium, which stretches for approximately two miles from Ball Road south to the I-5 freeway. Inhabitants of that encampment currently enjoy the sanctuary from enforcement actions thanks to the settlement agreement imposed by federal District Court Judge David O. Carter.

The OC Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) began enforcement operations at the SART transient camps since mid-September, gradually stepping up the tempo during the last two months.  Enforcement is combined with continuous offers of assistance to the homeless (both by peace officers and social workers). The numbers are bearing out what critics of allowing the encampments to remain have been saying: most of the occupants are refusing help. The OCSD says that during the last two months, it has made 1,561 contacts (some individuals were contacted multiple times). Only 114 individuals have accepted services – a 73% refusal rate.

During the same period, the 273 arrests have been made for a variety of crimes, including weapons possession, robbery, assault and sexual assault; 27 were for felonies, 180 for misdemeanors and 66 for outstanding warrants. At the end of October, the number of arrests was 180.

Residents of the Fountain Valley homeless camp had approximately three weeks to relocate. During that time, OC Parks hired a bus that would arrive at encampment every day at 5:00 p.m. to provide transportation to the Santa Ana Armory emergency shelter. According to county sources, it always wound up leaving without any passengers.

The discovieries at the Fountain Valley encampment further erode claims by homeless advocates that criminals are only a small portion of the population of the SART homeless encampments. Several weeks ago, homeless advocate Mohammed Aly told this writer that none of the bikes in the SART encampments are stolen – a incredible claim that only appears more absurd in the light of the discovery of 1,000 bicycle secreted in a flood control tunnel. Such refusal to acknowledge the reality of the SART homeless encampments is not unusual among the advocates, whose ability to frame the public debate on this issue continues crashing into reality.


  1. The person responsible for all these bikes should get a job with a bike store. Although I bet he was making more money by fixing and selling the stolen bikes. Some construction company ought to hire the folks that built the shelter. And we still wait for Operatin Home Safe to do something in Anaheim. And I am still waiting for a response regarding the so called 2500 beds that are available, as was reported at the City Council a couple of weeks back.

  2. Shove this down David Carter’s throat!

  3. Where are the bikes going? How do you check to see if your stolen bike is in this surplus? My bike was from my backyard, it was very upsetting as it was sentimental. Please find out for your readers. Yes it was registered. Thank you.

    This article is so sad, sad for Anaheim.

  4. “The bunker was empty when it was discovered” We’re are all those bikes?

  5. Hello, it’s me again, Mr. Smarty Pants, talking here. The storm drainage bunker is an interesting find, good intelligence for the Sheriffs to look for during foot\bike patrol duties along the banks of the Santa Ana River. I believe I’m current on the status of Anahiem’s homeless encampment; that being nothing has budged except for the Mayor’s and City Manager’s eagerness to toss the problematic issue to the stump grinder, hoping it will turn to dust and float on down the hi-way of triviality to its intended resting place. Beneath the gaze of a wooly-eyed City Council and right back into the stump grinder of obscurity.

    I must admit, I enjoy poking a spindly stick in the eyes of an inglorious Executive Branch of hobo’s, who ride the rails onto further opportunities to enhance their resumes thru the self-serving exploitation of people, hard & soft resources and tying Constrictor Knots with the truth. One more year is to long for this ship to meander. Get hold of the swort of Caesium and aim for the nutzsacks of these false profits. Those with the power to cause discomfort for Tate and Moreno have an obligation to take your concerns to the people whom which you serve. Either mobilize or quite down and take your chances at the next election. Good grief, folks, Good grief.

    She was the best Anaheim had to offer and I am so very sorry ANOTHER official bit the dust. Is anyone keeping track? I know it’s not this bad anywhere else!
    I am sorry to see her go, and all her help she gave us in the past.

  7. Why isn’t Anaheim doing the sale thing as Fountain Vally?

    • “Inhabitants of that encampment currently enjoy the sanctuary from enforcement actions thanks to the settlement agreement imposed by federal District Court Judge David O. Carter.”

  8. So this is what advocating blindly for kindness gets the bleeding hearts. This is what the advocates with all their studies and pleadings have given to the public. Our suspicions have been confirmed. The assertions of the residents, businesses and those using the SART have been confirmed. There are weapons and criminal activities found on the SART. It is dangerous and unsanitary on the Santa Ana River Trail.Those living on the trail have been contacted multiple times with offers of help – a hand up, only to REFUSE THE HELP.

    Seems to me that if a crime is committed by someone on the trail and the city knowingly allowed the public to be in harms way, they would be liable. The city, those advocating for the individuals using the trail this way, and the judge who protected them should all be able to be held accountable in the event of someone from the public gets hurt.

    Why are the voices of those living on the trail being heard over the voices of the residents and business owners?


    Why has something not been done about this Anaheim? Stop hiding behind this judges protective order. Start protecting your residents.

  9. When a major disease outbreak starts in the David O Carter Memorial Homeless Camp and spreads throughout Anaheim and Orange please make sure that Judge Carter gets full credit.

  10. “Such refusal to acknowledge the reality of the SART homeless encampments is not unusual among the advocates, whose ability to frame the public debate on this issue continues crashing into reality.”

    Speaking of refusal, it sure strikes me as odd that this cache of bikes — that literally has nothing to do with a homeless camp– is being used as evidence of criminal activity at homeless camps.

    Confirmation bias much?

    • If the bikes do not belong to those living on the river bed, then who? Camping on the river bed is a crime in itself. Those that need help should be able to get the help they need. Those that refuse the help need to be held to the same laws as everyone else. Safety for all.

    • The bikes had nothing to do with homeless camp?
      Is there another explanation for these bikes that makes sense? I would love to hear it.

    • No retraction is due on the contrary keep this up front in the news. It is ridiculous to ask us to believe the bikes, bunker and guns found are not related to those living illegally on the Santa Ana River Trail.

      The city has enough evidence that this will not resolve without enacting the laws. The refusal ratio is proof and the reports and evidence found by law enforcement dictates that the residents and businesses’ surrounding the river trail coupled with those desiring to use the public river trail, need protecting.

      This could not be plainer. Why is this allowed? Why should the facts be retracted?

      Keep this front and center until all those needing help are helped and those refusing help are required to answer to the same laws we all are.

  11. I am curious, if a Judge says we can’t remove them, then what do you propose that the “Tait-Moreno” cabal is to do about the homeless? Perhaps you can also share how Tait and Moreno are alone in their destruction of the City of Anaheim, when most votes (and all votes on homeless issues I can recall) have been unanimous? And if there is something you believe Anaheim can do above and beyond a court order to allow the homeless on the riverbed, and Kristine Ridge has been in charge of a homeless problem that, by most estimates, has DOUBLED, how is her departure a loss to Anaheim? If there is something Anaheim is supposed to be doing to fix the County’s problem, Ridge has not publicly brought the solution to the elected officials who can approve the spending or the policy. Perhaps you can enlighten me regarding the disparity in these positions. Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Tom Tait should offer up his warehouse to serve the HOMELESS. If he was “KIND” he would.

      Cynthia is full of it.

      Note to Lady Ward, Tom Tait is going away, you best start looking for a different wagon to hitch to.


    • I will enlighten you, Cynthia Ward, if that is even possible given your history. Mayor Tom Tait takes no action. He is all talk. It’s not just the service resistant transient issue, it’s with many issues including graffiti vandals and gangbangers. Anaheim has been a magnet for these criminal groups under Mayor Tait. They know there are no consequences here with Mayor Tait. Mayor Tait has the governmental resources to solve the gang issue within 30 days and the transient issue within a few months but he makes excuses and refuses to enforce current law. And you Cynthia Ward contribute to the problems by interfering with the processes that need to be implemented.

      • Yes, JRR, please enlighten me it’s your superior knowledge of how municipal government works. Please share with me what resources you believe Anaheim has access to that wold resolve issues in 30 days, and then please share it’s me when anyone (like Kristine Ridge?) asked Mayor/Council for those resources and was denied? I guess I missed that meeting. I do recall a presenation by staff and the hired “experts” to update all on the actions taken to address homelessness, and Council members (especially Denise Barnes) begging please to tell them what can be done, what resources might the City offer to fix this mess, and stafff and consultants claimed they had what they needed, other than housing, which the City lacks funding to build on their own, and the County is sitting on. So James, please, share with me all about when you saw Tait, Moreno, or anyone at City Hall refuse to put up resources, or give order to not enforce the law. I’ll wait here. Forgive me if I don’t hold my breath while waiting.

        • It doesn’t require superior knowledge, Cynthia. I will give you three examples. Tom Tait refused to exercise his moral authority as Mayor to hold accountable gang members and their culpable parents. It was brought to his attention to release a statement, a Mayoral Decree, to give notice to gang members to leave the City of Anaheim (among several other orders). Tait refused to allow law enforcement to enforce parental responsibility laws. Tait interfered with Chief Welter in implementing that and many other strategies available to law enforcement then he installed a Chief who cared more about job security and did everything he demanded. Tait applied the same weak and ineffectual policies to the service resistant transient issue.

        • All Anaheim Council did is let the problem fester and grow. Word spread that Anaheim was a place that would allow living on the trail so they came. If you build it they will come. Oh lets not forget how they studied, debated and pleaded “What do we do?” That is why the problem is the size it is. Nothing was done so it grew bigger and bigger. Nothing was done because Anaheim’s leadership refused to enforce the law. The city only did something or made it look like they were going to do something, when the media brought this to the attention of the public, and the council looked bad. TOO LATE.

          The public is not going to let this go and we will shame our leaders into action.

    • Tait-Moreno Failure of Leadership

      Under the Tait-Moreno leadership the homeless population has exploded. Their policy drives staff action. Their policy has been to add amenities to the homeless encampments, which would add to their permanence. We need new City leadership that wants to act and not just discuss the problem.

  12. A bunker that had stolen bikes and a gun with bullets in it just happened to be on the river bed. People living illegally on the river bed. Crime is was up on the river bed.

    Why retract? On the contrary bring in the police and clear the trail.

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