Santa Cruz police have identified 13 demonstrators suspected of taking over and vandalizing a vacant Wells Fargo building on River Street in November and have submitted their names to the county district attorney’s office.
“We expect to begin making arrests as soon as the warrants are issued,” police Chief Kevin Vogel said in a statement issued late Wednesday. “This is the first wave of names that have been submitted for arrest warrants. As this investigation progresses, we expect to identify additional individuals who are responsible and we intend to hold them accountable for their unlawful actions as well.”
Demonstrators were found Nov. 30 in the former Coast Commercial Bank building at 75 River St., where they’d barricaded themselves inside and hung an “Oocupy (sic) Everything” banner from the roof.
They said they took over the building with the intention of creating a community center in an unused building owned by Wells Fargo, a bank they considered evil because it had given out bad loans and foreclosed on thousands.
Some Occupy Santa Cruz participants said the demonstrators were not directly connected with the Occupy encampment across the river in San Lorenzo Park.
“I think it's just a group of people apart from a working group or the [General Assembly],” OSC website designer Andy Moskowitz . “I think they're just riding the tide of occupy everything that is going around.”
Mayor Ryan Coonerty and the Santa Cruz City Council condemned the building break-in and occupation, issuing this statement: “The Santa Cruz Police Department has our full support and confidence to enforce the law and resolve the situation in a way that protects the health and safety of our officers and our citizens."
Police said much of the information regarding the identity of the 13 trespass suspects came from community members who viewed photographs from the incident.