As Orange County officials clear out homeless encampments along the Santa Ana River, they are making some unexpected discoveries.
In one area, they found an underground bunker accessible from a wooden hatch camouflaged with dirt.
In another, more than 1,000 bicycles tucked in a separate tunnel were found.
The county began clearing more than 150 homeless people from the area between Warner and Edinger avenues on Nov. 7 after months of complaints from nearby condominium residents about unsanitary conditions and other nuisances at the encampment.
Lt. Jeff Puckett said the Sheriff’s Department has made more than 260 arrests in the past several months in various encampments along the river trail in connection with crimes such as robbery, assault and trespassing.
However, homeless advocates have contended the county is criminalizing homelessness and shuffling the camps’ population around instead of solving the growing problem.
When public works crews arrived to clean up trash two weeks ago, they discovered more than 1,000 bicycles tucked into a tunnel along the concrete river bed in Santa Ana, just south of the river’s Fairview Street overpass.