Man Lives In Shopping Centre For Four Years By Making ‘secret flat’ In Unused Room
A man lived in a flat hidden in the middle of a shopping centre and no one noticed for years – until he was discovered by security guards. Michael Townsend moved in when he was evicted from his old property as the owner had decided to develop it, and he was left with nowhere to go.
As he was deciding what to do he heard an advert for the centre and remembered he had once seen an empty room in the building, so he decided to set up camp in there, as the Daily Star reports. Things got a little out of hand and soon the 750-square-foot flat was furnished with a sofa and a PlayStation, and housed Michael and his friends.
Michael, an artist, first spotted the unused space beneath Providence Place Mall in Rhode Island, USA, on his daily run in 1999.
Suspecting there could be hidden space inside, he looked a little closer and spotted a room that looked like it was only there because of the formation of the purposely designed areas around it.
On his website, he said: “During the Christmas season of 2003 and 2004, radio ads for the Providence Place Mall featured an enthusiastic female voice talking about how great it would be if you (we) could live at the mall.
“The central theme of the ads was that the mall not only provided a rich shopping experience but also had all the things that one would need to survive and lead a healthy life.”
Townsend revisited the room he had spotted back in 1999 and discovered that it remained unused so he decided to see if he and his friends could in fact live at the mall.
He said: “The new plan wasn’t just to live in the mall for just a week, it was now simply to live in the mall.”
According to NBC News , Townsend and his pals also built a breeze block wall and utility door to keep it hidden.
They lived in relative peace for four years before the plan began to unravel. Before being caught, Townsend had plans to install wood flooring, a second bedroom and a kitchen.
Eventually, security guards found the secret property.
One day, the artists, who had sworn not to speak about the apartment with anyone else, found their utility door kicked in and their PlayStation, art and photo album gone.
In response, they took extra precautions, including only using the apartment at night.
But little did they know that the security guards had been responsible for the break-in and had been staking it out ever since, ready to pounce on its inhabitants.