SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – The owners of several San Jose businesses are trying to encourage action against two homeless men who have been damaging property and harassing their customers for more than a year.
The businesses owners want to make sure everyone in the neighborhood knows who the two men are in hopes they can be discouraged from their aggressive, threatening behavior.
The two characters are well known in the San Jose business district known as the Alameda.
In fact, business owners and neighbors have just about seen it all from two homeless men in particular.
“I’ve seen them yell at people, pushing people or spitting on people,” said area store manager Serjio Canchola. “They’ve broken windows of the businesses around here.”
The men have also allegedly shoplifted and broken into cars over the past two years.
Now the neighborhood business association is trying a new tactic.
“You can see here, we’ve put out fliers to keep people aware of these people if you see them,” explained Larry Clark with the Alameda Business Association.
They are publicly calling the men out, printing fliers identifying them as Ivan Ettel and Travis Bringham. The fliers ask people not to give them food or money and to call police if they see them breaking the law.
When ask if this was the smartest thing to do given that the two men could have a mental disorder, Clark replied, “Give me an alternative. We’ve tried everything else. This is really the only alternative we have. We’re trying to make the public aware that these people should not be accommodated. They should not be coddled.”
Clark said one of the businesses filed charges against Bringham and got a restraining order against him, but he has since come back.
“Those restraining orders have dates and they expire. So that need to be renewed, but unfortunately that means another crime has to be committed,” said Clark.
Canchola said the men have walked into his store yelling and screaming which discourages customers from coming in or staying.
“Customers are like, ‘Do I want to come over here? Do I want to walk up and down the street?’ They are scared of them,” said Canchola.
The Alameda Business Association said the two men have caused thousands of dollars in damage to an area that the city of San Jose has invested millions of dollar trying to promote with landscaping and improvements.