The allegedly intoxicated man was escorted off the Colony Plaza property to Webb Way where deputies arrested him. Residents are threatening to boycott businesses that tolerate transients.
By Hans Laetz/Special to The Malibu Times
Last week, an allegedly belligerent and intoxicated man was escorted across the Malibu Colony Plaza at gunpoint by a security guard.
Diners and shoppers were startled to see the female security guard with her gun drawn and pointed at the man’s head, escorting the man slowly from the Ralph’s Supermarket through the shopping center toward Webb Way last Wednesday during the dinner hour.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived as the man reached Webb Way and arrested him on public drunkenness charges and outstanding past warrants for failure to appear in court on similar charges, deputies said.
“He’s a 45-year-old homeless man … who was hassling housewives at the supermarket,” said arresting Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Jeffrey Trevillyan. “We seem to be getting more of them this year.”
Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Youngern said the shopping center security guard was within her rights to draw a handgun if she perceived a threat to her life. “If she has a security guard card, which she does, and if she thinks her life is threatened, I’m not going to second-guess that,” he said.
Youngern said he believes that the number of transients is related to increasing problems in Malibu.
“I think they’re up-assaults on transients are up, and property crimes are up,” he said. “A lot of that can be attributed to the increasing number of transients.”
This perceived increase in the number of transient drifters and people under the influence of alcohol frequenting local public and private places has left some Malibu residents hopping mad and they are demanding action from retailers and law enforcement. The residents say that retailers and law enforcement are tolerating the loitering and public drunkenness.
“The residents said they have had enough with the men who hang out, who follow them home and who are drunk,” said one West Malibu business owner who did not want to be named. “The residents have made it clear they want action or they will shop elsewhere.”
How’s Trancas Market and the Malibu Colony Shopping Center near the Civic Center are two hotbeds of complaints.
Trancas and Malibu West residents met with retailers and Sheriff’s deputies last week, and demanded that How’s Trancas Market and its landlord, Malibu Bay Company, enforce anti-loitering and trespassing statutes by calling deputies to oust loiterers. The area near How’s and the trees and bushes on Malibu Bay Company land along Trancas Creek are particular centers of transient activity, said Sheriff’s Lt. Randy Dickey.
Deputies have been told to step up patrols and respond quickly to calls from Trancas merchants and residents who report loitering, Dickey said.
“Our patrol units that work the area have been directed to cite people for any violations of any city ordinances,” he said.
Officials with the day laborer hiring center at the Malibu Civic Center have handed leaflets in Spanish to would-be workers on Trancas Canyon Road advising them that they face police action unless they stop waiting to be hired at Trancas and instead wait for day jobs at the city-sanctioned center.
Other detectives said the perceived increase in drifters and intoxicated homeless people is not related in any way to the murder of a laborer last month in western Malibu.
Guillermo Ramazini, 45, was shot to death the night of June 14 and left to die in ornamental landscaping in front of a Malibu Park mansion. That murder occurred near a frequent transient gathering place and occasional sleeping area in the bushes in Trancas Canyon.
Homicide detectives have released scant details about the month-old case, but have said they do not believe a predator or serial killer is at work.
“Based on everything that we’ve discovered so far, Guillermo’s murder was based on a personal incident,” said Lt. Dan Rosenberg, the chief homicide detective assigned to Ramazini’s murder case.
Youngern said statistics have not yet been compiled, but echoed comments made by patrol deputies who said they feel the number of drunks, panhandlers and nondesirable transients is up this summer.
Crimes of opportunity, such as pilfering goods from a vacant building and burglaries from vehicles, seem to be on the increase, the detective said.
“But crime in general is down in Malibu,” he said.
Dave Reznick, spokesperson for the Malibu Bay Company, declined to comment on the issue. That firm has recently agreed to sell the Malibu Colony Center to billionaire investor E. Stanley Kroenke for an undisclosed price.
But Malibu Bay Company retains ownership of the smaller Trancas property, businessmen there said.