Lewiston police have put a group of homeless people on notice.
Officers say they found an elaborate set-up in the woods on private property, with tents and clothes hanging on trees.
The Lewiston Police Department gave the people who live in these homeless camps until Friday to pack up all of their things and leave. CBS 13 found Thursday that no one was at the camp, but deep inside the woods, all of their belongings remain.
Lewiston police say they found the camp, which sits on private property between Lincoln Street and the Promenade Mall Tuesday, after a reported fire.
“We weren’t marching around the woods looking for homeless people to throw them out of the woods,” said Sgt. Robert Ullrich of the Lewiston Police Department. “A landowner called us and said, ‘Hey, this is what we’re dealing with.’”
Officers say the group has been there since at least June, but now they have to leave.
The officers say they were also surprised to find 13 new-born puppies living at the camp.
Police also seized the puppies’ mother, but say the owner can get her back if the living situation improves.
“The owner [of the puppies] agreed that it would be best to voluntarily surrender the puppies to the shelter to get the puppies the care that they need,” Ullrich said. “It was the right thing to do by the owner, I think that he recognized that he wasn’t in a situation right now to properly take care of them and get them all the shots and things that a puppy needs.”
Investigators say the group didn’t have a plan on where they might go, but that there are plenty of programs that can help them.
“Our role is to let them know where those services are and to … strongly encourage them to reach out for that help,” Ullrich said.
It’s still unclear what consequences these people may face if they don’t vacate the woods Friday, but the Lewiston Police Department says they hope they do it voluntarily.