Teen: man locked in Taco Bell dumpster, manager tells different story
Updated On: Feb 11 2014 12:00:56 PM CST
A Redding teen said he saw a homeless man get locked in a dumpster for more than an hour at the Taco Bell in downtown Redding.
On Monday morning 16-year-old Jacob Cook recounted what happened on this past rainy Saturday morning.
Standing by the dumpster he claims the homeless man named Josh was locked in, Cook described what happened.
"For this guy to be in this small space here it's frightening, it's terrifying," said Cook as he looked at the dumpster.
The Liberty Christian High School junior said it all began when he went into Taco Bell with his little sister for breakfast.
While waiting he heard an employee tell a manager a man was sleeping in the dumpster.
Cook said the manager laughed and told the employee to put the bar over the dumpster and close the gate around it.
When he heard the orders, Cook followed the employee outside and watched what happened.
"He didn't even open the dumpster, talk to the guy or anything, he just closed this bar, latched the gate and then walked back inside," he explained.
Upset, Cook decided to confront the manager.
"It's one thing if he's homeless but this is just being humane and you're ... it's just not right," continued Cook.
Cook said the manager told him not to tell him how to do his job and get off the property.
Cook said he complied, called Redding Police and waited nearby for them to arrive.
"Over the time that this was happening the guy actually banged on the trash can a couple times so I knew that he was in there," said Cook.
He said after about an hour the police arrived and Josh was removed from the dumpster.
On Monday, while Cook was recounting his story, the manager from Saturday, Darin Hailey, saw him being interviewed and threatened to call police.
He said he had orders to call the police if Cook was seen on the property.
Hailey painted a different story about what happened.
He said he never laughed about the issue to his employees and told the employee to leave the man alone, shut the gate to the dumpster but never made any mention of closing the restraining bar on top of the lid of the dumpster.
He said for the safety of his staff and customers he called police as well and waited for them to handle the situation.
"If he's asleep in the dumpster, that's the police's problem," explained Hailey. "I've been spit on, assaulted, had guns pulled on me."
He said that Josh could've gotten out of the dumpster if he wanted to.
"It was not locked, it's not possible to lock that dumpster," he said.
He demonstrated how the dumpster and restraining bar worked.
"Well I guess it kinda does but if you just sit and bang on it, it used to lock but if you put it down to this position and put a padlock on it," Hailey said.
But Hailey insisted the restraining bar was not on top of the dumpster at the time.
"There was no banging on lids."
Hailey said the dumpsters are designed so people can't get trapped inside.
"If you sit and push on the lid of it you can see how flimsy the lids are, any adult person is going to be able to push on the lid and get out of it."
Hailey said he felt bad about the whole situation and feels for the homeless but is sticking by his story.
Cook is sticking to his side as well.
"To say that this is not true is just appalling to me and actually pretty sad," he lamented.
Cook said on that rainy morning after the whole ordeal was over he had a chance to get to know Josh, even forming a friendship.
"He broke down with me and started crying," Cook said.
Cook took him to the nearby Dutch Bros. to get a hot coffee.
He said the staff heard what happened and gave them the coffee for free.
The two also went to the Weinerschnitzel restaurant.
At one point Josh wrote the words "I hope" on a dollar to give to a young man the two saw at the Weinerschnitzel.
During the experience Cook said Josh's clothes were wet and he didn't have shoes so he gave him $35 to buy a pair of shoes.
Cook later learned from people at the Empire Recovery Center next to Taco Bell that Josh returned with a receipt, proving that he did buy the shoes.
On Monday at the Good News Rescue Mission Cook said he hopes others can learn from his experience.
"At least smile at the homeless people and show them that you care. I mean a smile, that could make someone's day," he explained.
His parents who were there with him said they are proud of their son.
Since the two parted ways on Saturday Cook has been searching for Josh and wants to reunite to see how he's doing.
The Good News Rescue Mission said they'd like to help Josh and said they were upset when they heard about the incident.
A call was made to the Redding Police Department to get their take on what happened but hasn't been returned.
Copyright 2014 by KRCRTV.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.