A police raid on a NYC homeless hoarder has gone viral. Sonia Gonzalez, known to those around the neighborhood as “Choo Choo” due the 20 shopping carts she toted around, has had her loads of “treasures” confiscated by the NYPD earlier this week.
Sonia Gonzalez said she does not want to live in a homeless shelter and claimed her 20 shopping carts full of discarded items helped to keep her safe while she slept on NYC streets, the Daily Mail reported.
When the police took action on Wednesday, the elderly homeless woman had 20 grocery carts, 14 laundry carts, eight suitcases, two large crates and a dolly, the New York Post noted.
New York’s homeless super-hoarder Sonia Gonzalez’s tragic true story
— News, Views, People. (@NewsViewsPeople) March 11, 2016
There is absolutely no way the 60-year-old NYC homeless hoarder can get her 20 shopping carts returned because her belongings have already been destroyed.
It did not take Choo Choo long to start hoarding again after the NYPD raid. In just a single day she had already reportedly found two laundry carts and filled them with castoffs picked up around the street and empty bottles. Gonzalez also came into possession of a dolly and attached a cardboard box to it as a holder of the trash she found.
The NYC hoarder said the 20 shopping carts taken by the police officers had been given to her over the years she had spent on the street.
“I put sticks between the wheels so people can’t just move them quickly out of the way. I sleep with one eye open so I can hear them coming,” Gonzalez added.
She now feels her life is in more danger at night because the laundry carts are far more lightweight than the shopping carts and can easily be moved away while she sleeps.
Sonia Gonzalez and her 20+ shopping carts. Tells me she does not want to go to a shelter. My story on 1010 WINS pic.twitter.com/c0d62IElsO
— Juliet Papa (@winsjuliet) March 9, 2016
Choo Choo became a highly recognizable fixture in her NYC neighborhood. Until police officers confiscated the trash train, she had been pushing it around for an unknown number of years. NYPD officials said the shopping cart train obstructed both traffic and pedestrians and posed a safety issue.
The officers tried to convince Gonzalez to let them take her to a homeless shelter, but she staunchly refused. Choo Choo claims that staying at a shelter is far more dangerous than living on the streets of Manhattan. The first evening her shopping cart barrier was gone, she slept in the doorway of an apartment complex. Gonzalez said the roost was fairly safe because the building had a security guard, a surveillance camera, and was lighted.
Because the security guard does not work weekends, Choo Choo said she had to hurry to build up her trash train again so she can survive the night once again.
She soundly rejected the term “hoarder.” Sonia Gonzalez said she chooses her trash very carefully and only picks up items which will help enhance her safety.
Long before she became the subject of a viral story on social media, Gonzalez was allegedly a New York Department of Motor Vehicles staffer. She said she is still married to a man she identified only as Mike. According to Choo Choo, he works in Miami for half of the year and then returns to NYC.
Gonzalez said that she was born in Puerto Rico and came to live in NYC when she was a teenager. The hoarder also claimed that she had been married twice and had twin sons that were killed in an accident on the road when they were toddlers.
Gonzalez also said she had been living in a city building in Hell’s Kitchen, but after the property experienced heavy fire damage, she can no longer stay there.
For an unknown reason, possibly mental illness, Gonzalez is insistent that people are “out to get her.” Gonzalez claims that three specific men, a Cuban, and African, and a Mexican, are responsible for her problems with law enforcement. She claims the men called police to report her for having sex in public on the street, but she insisted she is not working as a prostitute. Choo Choo also claimed that she went to a city pool to use the shower to get clean when the fire in the building started. According to the NYC homeless woman, the people who are allegedly out to get her know that she was not inside the building when it burned because she had to sign the pool register before going inside.
[Photo by Rainmaker Photo/MediaPunch/IPX]