LONG BEACH (CBS) — Officials report that thieves are ransacking a Long Beach home.
That in itself would normally not be news, but the crooks are stealing from a hoarder. And not just any hoarder.
Police and neighbors say thieves and junk scavengers have been stealing from Antonio Gorospe.
Thursday, Gorospe allegedly shot a code inspector in the face before a seven hours-long barricade situation. Police ultimately got him out with tear gas, knocked a wall down with a tractor and a K-9 unit. Our cameras were rolling when the dog took him down.
What are they stealing from Gorospe? Amanda Burden, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, says pretty much everything that’s not nailed down. Junk, scrap metal, rotten food.
Neighbor Carlos Chaidz witnessed the thieving frenzy. “They were taking stuff yesterday.”
Janet Ball, another neighbor, likened it to an out-of-control garage sale, KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reported. Although no purchases were made. “I seen that iron lamp, it’s gone today. The gate was open yesterday, the day before it was closed. so they’ve been coming in, taking stuff.”
She can’t believe what she saw. “I don’t think it’s right. It’s his property whether it’s junk or not. It’s not right to take his stuff, (especially) if he’s not here.”
Police cruisers now patrol the neighborhood after residents complained it was a free-for-all, literally, at Gorospe’s now-unoccupied house.
Jason Reed, a neighbor, told Burden, “I think they’re trying to steal his scrap, all the metal here. They’re trying to make money. I understand people have to make money, but it’s a crime scene. Just leave it alone.”
The injured code inspector who was shot in the face is out of the hospital, reports Burden.
On his Facebook page Brett Bush wrote, “I am having trouble seeing out of my left eye. Please pray. Also pray that I can wean myself off the pain meds. I have completely forgiven the shooter as I know he is in a place to get the help he needs.”
Neighbors say Gorospe is a good man. Yes, the house is a mess but they say he was never violent before Thursday. He had reportedly been despondent over recently losing his mother.
Says Reed, “I’ve known Tony for eight years. And it’s kinda messed up that after they took him away people keep coming here and taking his stuff. They don’t need t that stuff. He’s a really good guy.”