Trent Douglass, a pastor who lives down the street from the house, said there are about 20 children in the neighborhood, but he never feared for their safety. "I wasn't worried about my kids playing around them," he said. But each time anything disappeared, the children's first thought was Smit, hence the "pirate man" nickname.
Chris Doyle, an art director who lives next door, said he often spoke with Smit. Doyle once asked him to fish out a trailer hitch for his truck. Smit found one in minutes.
"He was a very personable guy," Doyle said.
Ramon Salinas, the morning supervisor at the Chevron station just north of the Yorba Linda library, said he never thought Smit was a bother.
"Sometimes he would pay with pennies, nickels, whatever, for cigarettes," he said. Smit preferred full-flavored Pall Malls.
A couple doors down, Rodney Lascari, the owner of a pizza shop, said Smit collected aluminum near the dumpsters.
"He was a cool guy," Lascari said.
Smit and his daughters had a special bond. Smit-Lozano, in particular, seemed to understand his lifestyle, especially after her own brief time of living on the streets. She often helped her father, buying him $5 gift cards from Wal-Mart and 7-Eleven so he could have money. She also bought him a pager so he could stay in touch.