Magnolia telecommunications company still suffering because of nearby encampment
Last week, Eng had picked her 4-year-old son up from camp and was headed back to work at WBL Services, Inc. on Commodore Way around noon when she found two strange men outside. The trespassers had broken the handle off the office’s water spigot — which the office had blocked — with a wrench, and were stealing the building’s water.
Noticing that one of the men had a knife in his pocket, Eng called 911 from her car, afraid to even walk into her office.
“I was yelling at them to get off of my property and they wouldn’t leave, so I was on the phone with 911, while these two individuals were outside my work, ” she said. “And I’m eight months pregnant and I was just too scared to get my son out of the car.”
Police did not arrive at the property for three hours, Eng said. By that time, she said, the two water thieves had left.
“Once [police] showed up, they informed us that there was nothing that they could do about it since [the trespassers] were no longer on our property,” Eng said.
Despite the fact that Eng’s office had captured the men stealing the water on surveillance video and the fact that the men were still just across the street in the encampment, police did not pursue the crime.
The homeless encampment across the street from WBL Services has caused Eng and her colleagues grief for years. Feces, used needles, and trash can be found on the sidewalks. Drug deals and drug use alike take place out in the open, fearless of law enforcement. People have broken into businesses along the street.
“Every day, I have some sort of video of them stealing something from somewhere,” Eng said.
About once a week, the addicts trespass onto WBL’s locked property, Eng said, noting that this also regularly happens to other buildings on the same street. Video footage has shown the trespassers using the building’s hose to take showers and brush their teeth.
As a telecommunications company, WBL has naturally captured every crime on camera, but Eng said that this evidence has done no good with law enforcement.
“We have on video where these people are staying and the police have not done anything,” she said.
One of WBL’s co-owners wants the company to move out of the city, fearing that it is not safe for employees.
“We have video of a guy urinating on our front porch … And then, from a different-angled camera, you can see him putting his hand inside our locked mailbox, trying to steal our mail,” Eng said. “And there are cameras everywhere … we have these people’s faces and nothing is done.”
Eng wants to see the city to “get a handle” on substance abuse and mental illness in the area. Otherwise, she said, businesses will start leaving Seattle and take their revenue with them.
“I think it’s about time that we stop being politically correct and thinking that these homeless sweeps are not a good idea because these people are not being good citizens to the businesses around us,” she said. “And the City of Seattle is going to start losing money the more and more these illegal addicts start stealing from honest, good, working citizens who are trying to make a living.”