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Photo: Intruder Smashes Through Glass In Venice Home, Destroys Sinks And Leaves Blood [Graphic]
A disturbing story has surfaced regarding a man 'probably on PCP' who broke into a young mother's home in Venice by smashing and jumping through a plate glass door, then ripped her sinks straight from the walls, covering her bathroom in blood.
The story comes from Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association, who sent a Letter to the Editor of Yo! Venice!. The letter details an event on April 8, 2014. Ryavec writes that at around 4:30 a.m., a transient in Venice was heard screaming "he has a gun" on Horizon Avenue near Riviera Avenue. Neighbors were woken up by the screaming and called police, but Ryavec says officers chose to ignore it as a random person yelling in Venice, which isn't particularly uncommon.
However, things got much worse. The man eventually ended up attempting to kick in the front door of a nearby duplex. When he could not, he shattered the plate glass in the door and dove through it, cutting himself on the glass. Unfazed, he then trashed the bathroom, pulling two pedestal sinks straight out of the wall and covering the room in his blood.
At the time of the break-in, the duplex was occupied by a young woman and her two children, ages five and seven. She was able to flee to her neighbors' apartment via the back stairwell as the man came in using the front stairwell. Eventually, she and her downstairs neighbors all fled to a home across the street to wait for police to arrive. By her account, it took 25 minutes for officers to show up, and it took 6 officers and EMT to get the man into the ambulance.
Officers later told the woman that "it would have taken Herculean strength" to rip the sinks from the walls and that the man was "probably on PCP."
The intruder turned out to be a transient from Idaho with a criminal record who is now in a mental hospital. The woman has since moved out of the Venice apartment, but she and her 7-year-old daughter currently suffer from PTSD, according to Ryavec.
If this story sounds familiar, you might be thinking of the time a transient broke into the home of a young actress who climbed up to the roof to escape him. Or the Venice woman who wrote in Jezebel about how she awoke to find a man she did not know looming over her bed one night. In 2009, a transient raped and murdered Eun Y. Kang, a 39-year-old woman who was pregnant with twins at the time of her death. Police have previously issued warnings about these 'hot prowls'—burglaries or break-ins when the homeowners are present—urging Venice residents to lock up and keep valuables out of sight.
Ryavec told LAist he heard about the harrowing, sink-ripping break-in that he writes about in his letter to Yo! Venice! from a neighbor and got in touch with the woman, who told him her story and provided him with the photo of the wrecked bathroom. Ryavec told us about numerous other break-ins in the area, including a recent incident at actor Kip Pardue's home where a woman climbed over his fence and got in through his front door. Pardue, especially unnerved because he lives with his pregnant wife, was able to talk the woman into leaving without incident, Ryavec said.
All of these break-ins bring up a complicated issue. There are a lot of transients in Venice who are drawn to beach and available social services. This increases tensions with homeowners and when it gets violent, it crosses a line where complaints can't be chalked up to simple NIMBY-ism.
For Ryavec, he says his neighborhood group filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles on October 30 that, according to their website, is "for their maintenance of a public nuisance and dangerous conditions along the Venice Boardwalk and beach" that are making it hard for residents to enjoy or feel safe in their homes.
"Young people come from all over the country because it's known that you can be comfortably homeless on Venice Beach," Ryavec told LAist.
The LAPD has responded: this year beefed up the security in Venice Beach following a rash of violent crimes. LAPD Sgt. Theresa Skinner told the Los Angeles Times in February that about 75 percent of the area's complaints she receives are related to the homeless, but she can't do a lot about a lot of the calls they get. "Sometimes I wish I had crime that was more police-related," she said. She continued, "We'll never make enough arrests or write enough tickets to get rid of homelessness."
Years ago, the city passed laws that made it illegal to sit or lie down on sidewalks, but they were sued and in October 2007 the city settled the case. The city compromised by agreeing to not enforce the law between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. until there are 1,250 shelter beds available. Venice311 reported this October that the city was 350 shelter beds away from the required 1250, but that they weren't sure when this quota was going to be met.
City Councilman Mike Bonin explained in February that it's hard to create more shelter beds because U.S. Housing and Urban Development vouchers are currently frozen. (We reached out to Bonin for this article but did not hear back.)
Ryavec and other groups fear that social services enable the homeless to come to Venice, but do nothing to try to help them in the areas they need most—namely, mental and counseling services and actual housing. He also states that nearby shelters are often uncrowded, with the homeless preferring to take up residence on the beach and the streets.
"We don't want to do anything to make it easier to be homeless here, we want to make it easier to get off the streets and into housing," he said.
The Times reported an estimated 174 homeless live on the streets of Venice and another 132 in winter shelters in that February report.