Sentinel staff report — updated 7:55 p.m.
The owner of Java Cherry, a popular local coffee house on Van Maren Lane in Citrus Heights, says her storefront window was smashed early Wednesday morning — the third time in the past five years.
“I just showed up and there was glass all over,” said owner Louise Hansen-Cordray, noting she found a fast food bag with a large rock in it nearby. She said the window could have been smashed by “teenagers” or someone else, but suspects homeless are responsible for the latest damage to her window due to a history of trouble with transients near her shop and a recent increase in unknown homeless faces.
“I’ve seen white buses before just dropping people off randomly right between me and the 7-Eleven store,” she said, commenting that the people dropped off appear to be homeless. “I don’t know if it’s coming from a shelter or what… it’s getting ridiculous.”
She said police reports were filed for each of the vandalism incidents, including an online report she filed for the latest incident that she believes happened between 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday and 5 a.m. Wednesday.
As of Wednesday evening, Citrus Heights Police Sgt. Richard Wheaton told The Sentinel he was unaware of the incident, but said online reports can take “a day or so” to process. He was also “not aware of specific homeless-related crime being impacted in that area recently,” but said the 24-hour businesses at the intersection of Auburn Boulevard and Van Maren Lane tend to “bring a lot of people in and, yes, we’ll see homeless people there.”
When problem areas are identified in the city, the sergeant said police respond with added patrols and also get the department’s Problem Oriented Police unit involved to work with business and property owners on solutions.
In June, CHPD reported that homeless-related calls for service had dropped to about 18-22 percent of all calls the department receives — down from 30-35 percent the prior year. Police credited the drop to the work of a fully funded “homeless navigator” in the city, as well as the work of various nonprofits and churches who helped host a winter shelter program and “stand down” event for the homeless.
For Hansen-Cordray however, homeless have been a continual problem ever since opening Java Cherry at 6720 Van Maren Ln. in 2012.
“Every morning I clean up after someone’s meal or party outside,” she said, noting that “some mornings are worse than others.”
Though expressing empathy for transients who may be struggling with mental health issues, Hansen-Cordray called homelessness “a big problem” in the area and said a permanent solution is needed that includes shelters and mental health treatment.
She said some of the homeless are nice while others are “foulmouthed and obnoxious,” but having people sleep in front of her store and create messes for her to clean up isn’t something she has time for.
“I didn’t open a shelter, I opened a coffee shop,” said the 49-year-old owner. “If I can’t take care of myself, I can’t help them. And every time they do something like this it costs me money and time cleaning up after them.”
“You know, you try to create something nice in the neighborhood and then something like this happens and puts a damper on the day,” she said.
But by the end of the day on Wednesday, her spirits had been brightened by supportive comments from her customers and a landlord who replaced the glass the same day.
“It’s all fixed now,” she said. “I was very pleased about that.”
Update: Citrus Heights police have since organized a “Coffee with a Cop” event at Java Cherry, scheduled for Oct. 3 from 9-11 a.m.
The owner of Java Cherry, a popular local coffee house on Van Maren Lane in Citrus Heights, says her storefront window was smashed early Wednesday morning -- the third time in the past five years.
“I just showed up and there was glass all over," said owner Louise Hansen-Cordray, noting she found a fast food bag with a large rock in it nearby. She said the window could have been smashed by "teenagers" or someone else, but suspects homeless are responsible for the latest damage to her window due to a history of trouble with transients near her shop and a recent increase in unknown homeless faces...
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