A homeless man was found living inside an underground utility vault on Alameda Street near the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, CBS Los Angeles reported on Thursday.
According to Doug Van Kirk, JANM CFO, the museum’s security guards noticed on Monday evening between 8 and 9 p.m. an individual taking his backpack and other bags and placing them into the utility vault. It was unclear how long he had been living in the vault.
The vault, which houses utilities such as water and electrical, was left unsealed. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was notified. Police recovered clothes, food, and a backpack with a replica gun from the vault.
The individual could not break into the museum from the vault but the museum was concerned that the utilities inside could be damaged.
Van Kirk said that considering the rise in anti-Asian hate in the past few years, the museum worried about the safety of their employees and guests.
“We take any incident like this very seriously,” he said. “It’s really important that we take into consideration the safety of our employees (and) guests, although this was after hours. Our employees, our guests (and) our volunteers are always very important to us.”