Homeless Man Charged With Destruction of Property for Living in 15-Foot-Deep Man-Made Cave - NBC4 Washington

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Homeless Man Charged With Destruction of Property for Living in 15-Foot-Deep Man-Made Cave



    Cave Discovered in Fairfax City Park, Occupant Arrested

    A homeless man who police say painstakingly dug a 15-foot-deep cave in a public park was arrested Sunday and charged with property destruction. News4's Julie Carey reports. (Published Monday, Dec. 14, 2015)

    A homeless man has been charged with property destruction after police discovered a 15-foot-deep cave they say he dug in a public park.

    Yosue Joel Rios, 25, was arrested Sunday after police in Fairfax, Virginia found a man-made cave in Van Dyck Park. The painstakingly created home about 200 yards behind the headquarters of the City of Fairfax Police Department headquarters was discovered about 4:10 p.m. by people walking through the woods. The entrance was covered with plywood and leaves, police said.

    "I haven't seen anything like it," police spokeswoman Sgt. Natalie Hinesley said.

    Video shot by police shows steep steps leading to a split-level home of sorts. On one end of the cavern was a bedroom; on the other was a sunken living room. Inside, officers found books and papers that looked like homework assignments.

    Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

    "He was studying several topics, from what it looked like," Hinesley said, noting officers found English language manuals. "He had an alphabet written out with the sounds."

    He also appeared to be a student of the Bible, police said, and had carved into the cement-like walls the word " Adullam", the name of a cave where David hid from the King of Gath.

    Staff members at the nearby nonprofit The Lamb Center said they knew Rios well and that he had just been there on Saturday for Bible study.

    Officers also found inside a spade, a trowel and a pick ax, photos show.

    Rios wasn't at the home he created when police entered and began to dismantle it. When he returned and said he lived inside, he was arrested and charged with destruction of property. Police said he also was wanted for failure to appear in court after a traffic charge in Arlington County. He was ordered held without bond.

    By Monday afternoon, county crews had filled in the cave with dirt. It wasn't clear how long Rios had lived inside.

    At last count, about 1,200 homeless people lived in Fairfax County.

    A visitor to Van Dyck Park on Monday, Fareed Naimi, said he admired Rios.

    "More power to him. He did something that most people don't do," he said. "He actually took a step to change his life and made his own little home where he could study."