Men found sleeping in recliners at firehouse asked to leave early Tuesday; iPad stolen

Screengrab from City of Bloomington press release

Two unhoused men were asked to leave the downtown Bloomington Fire Station where they were found asleep recliners early Tuesday, according to Bloomington Police Department Sergeant Benjamin Burns. One of the men then stole an iPad.

Firefighters discovered the men sleeping in recliners in a day room at the downtown fire station at 226 South College between midnight and 1 a.m., Tuesday. The men said they understood the firehouse was a warming station. However, they were informed it was not a place to sleep overnight, and they would need to leave. The men had entered without permission through an unlocked door at the station.

Later in the morning a firefighter discovered a bag at the station was open, and an iPad missing. However, the iPad was tracked to 600 block of South Walnut, and one of the unhoused men caught on surveillance video taking the iPad was found and arrested for felony theft. The iPad’s value is over 750-dollars.

A person later turned in the stolen iPad at Shalom Community Center. A gift card for The Tap, also taken when the iPad was stolen, was not recovered.

Past weather data says the temperature was around 7 degrees F at 1 a.m., Tuesday, January 26, 2022, and kept dropping to a low of 0 degrees F by 8 a.m.

In a press release, The City of Bloomington had told residents needing assistance during the cold snap to contact 211 or visit, and listed some local non-government charity organizations that sometimes help unhoused residents.

Here is a link to the press release:

Last year the city council voted that residents, including unhoused individuals, can’t sleep overnight on city-owned property, and the city then sent the police, social workers, and contractors to clear homeless camps at least twice last winter.

Some residents have been trespassed from some local shelters, or don’t stay in those places for various reasons. A camp on the northside of the city also burned Sunday night. It’s the second camp that has burned in the past few weeks.

However, shelters such as Wheeler Mission, have increased capacity to help people needing shelter this winter during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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