Paso Robles police officers attempted to remove two transients from a vacant Paso Robles home that is for sale, but the squatters resisted. When police arrived, the transients barricaded themselves inside the attic, and officers ultimately used pepper spray to get them out.
At about 12 p.m., a neighbor saw two people hanging around the house in the 1000 block of Caddie Lane, and he called police to report suspicious activity. The witness last spotted the two suspects going into the backyard of the home with a dog in tow.
Officers arrived at the home and found the door to the garage open with personal items scattered around the door. Police could hear individuals running through the house to the second floor, and it sounded like the suspects were barricading themselves inside a room.
Officers surrounded the home, instructed neighbors to take shelter and closed the street to traffic.
After the couple barricaded themselves upstairs, officers rescued the suspects’ dog, a two-year-old pit bull mix named “Valkyrie”, before it ran away into traffic. Animal services personnel took custody of the dog.
Police announced to the suspects that they should surrender, but received no response. Officers also contacted the owner of the house, who confirmed no one had permission to enter his home.
After securing the scene, officers searched the home and discovered the couple was in the attic. Officers warned the suspects that if they did not leave the attic chemical agents would be used.
Officers then pepper sprayed the attic, and the suspects surrendered. At approximately 2:07 p.m., officers took Thomas Andersen, 31, and Denise Macarthur, 31, into custody.
Both suspects received treatment at the scene for exposure to a chemical agent. Neither suffered injuries.
Officers booked Andersen into the San Luis Obispo County Jail on charges of trespassing, possession of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and having a felony warrant. Macarthur was booked in jail on charges of trespassing, resisting arrest and having a felony warrant.
An investigation into the case is ongoing. Andersen remains in jail with his bail set at $10,000, while Macarthur is still in custody with her bail set at $2,500, according to the county sheriff’s office website.