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Property managers still want payment after woman’s rent is stolen from office

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Posted at 7:25 PM, Aug 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-08 19:25:05-04

Newport News, Va. - A Newport News woman is on the brink of eviction after her rent money was stolen from Hanover Apartments office, and property managers are still holding her responsible for the money.

"It's hurtful to know you do what's right and people still screw over you," said Gwendolyn Young.  "I got all my copies proving that I had paid [the rent]."

Young says she placed her money order for July rent inside a dropbox at Hanover Apartments. Days later, property managers put a notice on her door that her July rent hadn't been paid.

Thieves caught on video fishing checks and money orders from rent drop box

Young scraped up $15 to order a trace on the money order.

"It wound up in Florida," she said as she showed NewsChannel 3 the trace documents.  "I don't drive.  I don't have wings. I didn't take it go to Florida and do it myself.  So somebody stole it, white washed all my information off it."

Young reported that information to police and property managers, but managers still say she owes July rent.

"It's not about money, it's about doing what's right," Young said.

NewsChannel 3 tried to get answers from property manager Stephanie Guerrero Thursday afternoon, but she offered no comment.

Larry Lockwood, who has practiced landlord-tenant law, said Young should not be held responsible for the rent if it was stolen from the property manager's office.

"Once she dropped it in the slot, she lost control of that check.  If somebody steals it then from the office, it's not her responsibility," he said.

Lockwood said this is a civil matter that could go to court.

Young said she is moving out of Hanover Apartments soon and hopes to stay with relatives.

As for the stolen money order, Newport News police told NewsChannel 3 there are four similar cases at Hanover Apartments that are under investigation.  Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.