SLO transient burglarizes shop and passes out in gas station across the street

January 15, 2013
Carmelo Colaccino

Carmelo Colaccino

A 29-year-old transient was arrested for burglary after he insisted on sleeping inside a downtown San Luis Obispo gas station Sunday evening.

When San Luis Obispo police arrived around 7:30 p.m., officers discovered that the man had burglarized a popular sandwich shop across the street, the police department says. Police arrested the man for burglarizing Ben Franklin’s Sandwiches, as well as for burglarizing a grocery and liquor store, stealing a parked car and possessing stolen property, a banned substance and drug paraphernalia.

Carmel Colaccino refused to leave the Chevron station at the corner of Marsh and Higuera streets Sunday evening and kept passing out. When officers searched his backpack, they found a hypodermic needle believed to contain methamphetamine. They also found several unscratched lottery tickets, cash, cigarettes and a Google Tablet.

Colaccino admitted to stealing the lottery tickets, cigarettes and tablet from Padre and Grocery Liquors on South Higuera Street. The 29-year-old transient also admitted to burglarizing Ben Franklin’s, committing another burglary in Los Osos and stealing a vehicle parked in downtown San Luis Obispo on Marsh Street and leaving it near the corner of Chorro and Lincoln streets.

The Ben Franklin’s burglary occurred around 5:42 a.m. Saturday, and the burglary of Padre Grocery and Liquors occurred around 5:01 a.m. Sunday. Colaccino said he did not act alone but did not reveal co-conspirators. San Luis Obispo police are searching for two other suspects involved in the grocery and liquor store burglary.

A few hours after the burglary of the sandwich shop, the San Luis Obispo City Council held a special meeting to discuss the problems surrounding homeless and transients in the community. Several residents and business owners complained about the behavior of transients, including Mayor Jan Marx, who said a man who fit the description of a transient punched her in the arm outside city hall.

Councilman John Ashbaugh proposed placing surveillance cameras in places frequented by the homeless, like under the Marsh Street Bridge, to monitor their behavior. San Luis Obispo police cited Colaccino last week for illegally sleeping under the Marsh Street Bridge.

The police department also says that Coloccino had an outstanding warrant in Santa Cruz County.

Many members of the community have complained that the city of San Luis Obispo has become a “magnet” for homeless living in Santa Cruz. Several citizens have also said that building the proposed multi-million dollar shelter on South Higuera Street will attract even more homeless and transients to the area.


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I think they need to work for whatever they get , there,s a whole lot of freeway that needs cleaning out in the city Quit just handing out the FREE food and beds , you want a warm bed for the night , do some work.

I do not frequent down town SLO either , I get tired of the pan handlers and aggressive behavior , and if one of them EVER SPiT on me they will be missing teeth.

There is no reason for a able bodied person not to EARN the rewards , I think the end results will have to fall on the city council , they created the problem now they can fix it

Not a liberal progressive reply, jarhead! Expecting one to earn the fruits of one’s labors is anathema to the current model of confiscating what you earn for the benefit of those who do not.

Plus, how touchy-feely is it to ask a lazy meth-head to work for his keep? That’s not at all progressive or liberal! They are VICTIMS, don’t you know? :/

I have made many drives to northern California and back. On a number of occasions I’ve picked up what appeared to be transient hitchhikers. When I’ve told them I’m headed as far south as San Luis Obispo, several have said, “GREAT! They take GOOD care of the homeless there!”

This was 15+ years ago. Trust me, far and wide…. the word is out.

Free food, a free place to stay, and even a free bus to take them from the food line to the shelter. Not too shabby.

SLO can easily eliminate this problem by making them earn their keep by working for everything they get. No work–no food, no shelter, no nuthin’.

Take it or leave it. You will see a lot of them scatter.

Those who stick around and are willing to earn their salt are worth helping and saving. They just might even get back on their feet.

True, but unfortunately, that libertarian thought is too conservative for this area.

After reading the last several articles over the days, looks like good old SLO has graduated to the big time. You don’t have to go too far south to see and hear how Santa Maria deals with it’s very active bunch. Just shoot and ask questions later. Maybe if that happened around San Luis a few times, it might flush some of this great disiribles out to another city creek. Anything is better then what is happening on a daily basis on the streets of San Luis Obispo. Of course what do you expect when you get free food, free beds, and free drink. San Luis has the reputation of a homelessness delight. The City Council that you very people vote in are to blame for this and has made this population very welcome.

MAD HATTER says:”Just shoot and ask questions later. Maybe if that happened around San Luis a few times, it might flush some of this great disiribles out to another city creek. Anything is better then what is happening”

Really? You are suggesting someone shooting the homeless as a solution?

What are your thoughts on Mexicans?

Yeah, I did not like that comment either – and I’m a libertarian/conservative “gun nut” – shooting should only be done in a defensive manner, if/when at all possible.

A very poor comparison MAD HATTER.

It’s sad to read about how bad SLO has gotten.

I lived there over 12 years ago, and it was a great

town at one time….

“Colaccino said he did not act alone but did not reveal co-conspirators. San Luis Obispo police are searching for two other suspects involved in the grocery and liquor store burglary.”

After being in jail for awhile he’ll be tweeking pretty badly. Offer him a shot of his drug of choice and I’ll bet next weeks pay that he’ll jump at the chance to rat out his bud’s.

I was thinking the same thing! How hard is it to get an addict to talk, really? LoL.

Come on, this article must be a lie right? These transients aren’t like this. They’re not dopers and criminals and vermin. Why does the media have to make this stuff up? Someone join me in a conspiracy theory.

Where’s all the NIMBY (not in my back yard) liberals and Stu Jenkins (I’m for the homeless as long as I get my $70,000 fee) on defending this obviously honest, hard working soul who obviously just lost his job of 20 years as a dutiful employee somewhere and simply needed a warm sandwich and bed?

What’s next, going after that poor victim of society who who attacked and spit on those women?

When are these lies and attacks on our homeless going to end?

And I guess since these fine folks have four walls, they’re not dopers, criminals, and vermin. If it weren’t for those gosh darn transients, SLO would be the greatest place on earth, right?

All the finger pointing in the world won’t keep your SLO grown kids from growing up and becoming self-absorbed, drug using, irresponsible, moral-less thieves.

Naww, they’re pretty much the same pond scum. I’m betting that they are all or mostly imports also and not home grown.

Also, let’s just assume for giggles and grins that the six arrested for burglary, running a chop shop and numerous other offences, are home grown and natives to SLO.

It’s a given, that in any town, citty or county, a certain % of the kids will go bad. I know for a fact that even over 50 years ago when I was a high schooler, several of my class mates ran afoul of the law and ended up in jail and or on probation. Some of the same bunch and others ended up in prison later in life.

Ok, so with that in mind, does it make any sense at all to “invite” or “import” (through your local transient “welcome wagon”) more of them to your area?

Much less make it so good and comfortable for them here that they spread the word and take up residence?

Make it a good thing for the ones deserving of the help and so tough on those that don’t that they move on. Where to, I don’t know or care as long as they go.


It’s to the point where I don’t know where to go shop anymore, I used to go to Santa Maria, but that place has turned into a ghetto full of gangs, drugs and drive bys, so I stay away from there.

Since some of the powers in SLO have turned the town into a bright, welcoming beacon to the transient element, it’s full of lowlife’s like the one in this article. Now the only place I go in SLO is occasionally when necessary to the Home Depot/Costo area. Forget downtown, they will never see me there unless I have to go for jury duty.

If the proposed 200 bed homeless center is built, they will continue to come in increasing numbers to infest and pollute this area. What’s next? A big push for a a 400 bed facility?

I seems to me that the powers that be are CREATING the problem by making the area so welcoming to the “will nots”.

And the real thrust behind all these freebies, homeless creation centers, and the new taxes to pay for it is all about power. The is humane waste of people and talent and shame on the powers – from the top (president) to the bottom (mayor/council) for created these safeguards for themselves. However, the biggest share of this belings to the voters who continue to vote these people in and then allow them it get away with all this c@^p. We haven’t seen anything yet.

Given that there are a substantial number of homeless who are not lowlifes, druggies or mentally-ill to the point of being dangerous, we can’t morally just attack all homeless to beat back the problems caused by a segment of that population. What we need to do is find a way to limit services to the salvageable homeless while encouraging the others to move on.

I would suggest that, new facility or not, some sort of regular drug-testing program should be involved to receive most services beyond a recommendation to an addiction treatment program. An general evaluation & counseling for other personal problems wouldn’t hurt either. (They may be doing this to some degree already.)

Similarly, there should be a waiting period to receive most services to discourage transients from stopping by and staying. In addition, for overnight lodging, some proof of county residency (for at least a month?) should be required and priorities should be given to the most vulnerable (provided they are not otherwise disqualified.)

I don’t know where the funding could come from (maybe redirected from the “War on Drugs”) but having a means to identify and deal with the treatable mentally ill would reduce the scary conflicts that so many fear.

Finally, if we have proof that Santa Cruz (or Bakersfield or anywhere else) is giving bus tickets to SLO to their “problem” homeless, we should return the favor until they get the message that they need a better solution.

I have no issue with helping the ones that are worthy and deserving of help. Families with kids homeless because of lost jobs. Mother’s and kids homeless because of a dead beat Dads, but there has to be a way found to help them with out wasting the limited resources on scum like the guy in this article.

They say that the “have nots” will be in the program only as long as it takes to get them on their feet and on their own again and that’s the kind to spend the money on. The “will nots” will never leave the progam on their own, because they only want a handout, and not a hand. That means that if you even let them in at all, you will have to force them out at some point or you’ll be stuck with them from now on.

I don’t have an answer about the “can nots” but then no one seems to know how to deal with them. You can’t just lock them up and force treament on them, that would violate their “civil rights” the way the laws are these days, even it that would be the very best thing that could happen to them. There needs to be some serious rethinking done in that department in my opinion.