Neighbors near Puyallup blame homeless camp for property crimes

PUYALLUP, Wash.  -- Neighbors living along the shores of the Puyallup River believe property crime is out of control, and some worry it all stems from a nearby homeless camp.

“Quality of life is in the toilet,” said Riverside Villa resident Cindy Mattson.

Mattson and her neighbors said that thieves are targeting their small community.

“I’ve had all kinds of stuff stolen,” said neighbor Dan Igou. “Tools, bikes, you name it.”

“I’ve lost yard art, I lost a bicycle,” said Mattson.

Crooks have made off with everything from yard art to garden lights and neighbors said they’ve have had enough.

“Whatever they can get their hands on, whatever makes them some money,” Igou said.

Many in the neighborhood believe the crooks are living across the road in a small homeless camp.

Police said they have cleared out areas along the river at least three times, but deputies say at this point there’s no evidence the two are connected.

Riverside Villa residents believe something must be done.

“For the tenants here in the park, if they feel uncomfortable and unsafe because of it, then I think it’s an issue,” said park manager Tom Adams.

Deputies respond to about 40 burglaries each week across Pierce County.

Mattson said she would not leave her home after dark, worried the crooks could turn violent.

Her neighbors want the small quiet community to stay quiet, and they hope their homeless neighbors can get the help they need.

“Somebody needs to step in and find out,” said Igou.