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Couple lives in a mall for 4 years before being caught


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Couple Explains How They Lived In Providence Mall

(WBZ) PROVIDENCE, R.I. Just days after a group of artists were caught living in a secret apartment in the Providence Place Mall, two of them told their story on national television.

Michael Townsend, 36, said he and seven other artists built the 750-square-foot apartment beginning in 2003 and lived there for up to three weeks at a time. He said the secret apartment in the mall's parking garage was part of a project on mall life.

The artists built a cinderblock wall and nondescript utility door to keep the loft hidden from the outside world.

But inside, the apartment was fully furnished, down to a hutch filled with china and a Sony Playstation 2 -- although a burglar broke in and stole the Playstation last spring, Townsend said.

There was no running water -- instead they used the mall bathrooms.

Townsend told CBS Early Show host Harry Smith Friday they were just about to build their own bathroom and another room.

"We were getting there, so close," he said.

Townsend said he was inspired by a Christmastime ad for the mall which featured a "an enthusiastic female voice talking about how great it would be if you could live at the mall."

Adriana Yoto, Townsend's wife, also lived in the hidden apartment. She said they took advantage of all the shopping opportunities.

"We patronized many establishments there," she told CBS.

He said plans to make the apartment "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.

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