The leader of an artist's collective was recently charged with trespassing after he was found by security guards inside a small furnished room his group had secretly built more than four years ago on mall property.
"Michael Townsend, 36, said he and seven other artists built the apartment in a 750-square-foot loft in the parking garage four years ago and lived there for up to three weeks at a time while documenting mall life."
"The apartment included a sectional sofa and love seat, coffee and breakfast tables, chairs, lamps, rugs, paintings, a hutch filled with china, a waffle iron, TV and Sony Playstation 2 -- although a burglar broke in and stole the Playstation last spring, Townsend said. The artists built a cinderblock wall and nondescript utility door to keep the loft hidden from the outside world."
"Townsend said plans to make the loft 'super-sweet' with laminated wood flooring and other perks fell apart last week after he and a visiting artist from Hong Kong walked into the room and were greeted by three security guards. He pleaded no contest to a trespassing charge."