Thieves target rent drop boxes in Newport News

Posted at 5:46 PM, Aug 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-09 21:09:27-04

Newport News, Va. - Newport News police say thieves are fishing out checks and money orders meant for rent at several apartment complexes in the city.

"The name of our company is just obviously whited out, and to me it's just brazen," said Allison Treadwell, office manager for Franklin Management Company in Newport News.  She told NewsChannel 3 that two thieves were caught on surveillance video fishing out more than 100 rent checks and money orders through the drop box at the office.

"There were two individuals who came up to the door and used a wire mechanism and threw it in the drop slot and started pulling them out like a cake walk," she said.

Police said in addition to Franklin Management on Denbigh Boulevard, thieves fished out rent checks and money orders from Stoney Creek Apartments, Jamestown Apartments, Featherstone Apartments, Criston Apartments, Abbington Landing Apartments and Hanover Apartments.

"I got all my copies proving that i had paid it," said Gwendolyn Young, who lives at Hanover Apartments.  Police said she is among three people whose rent money may have been fished out of the drop box in July.

"It wound up in Florida.  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 said.

Police said what happened to Young is what seems to have happened in all the other cases too.  Police believe the same person or group of people may be behind all the rent money robberies.

Treadwell said they have modified their drop box slot so nothing but a slip of paper can get through.  They have also raised it.

"We wanted to nip it in the bud," she said.

Treadwell also said Franklin Management Company is not holding tenants responsible for the stolen rent money as long as they can show a receipt or stub.  However, Hanover is not being so helpful when it comes to Young.  They are still holding her responsible for the July rent money that was stolen.

"It's hurtful to know you do what's right and people still screw over you," Young said.

Young said she's making plans to move, but she still prays police catch the person who stole her rent money.

If you have any information that can help police, call the Crimeline at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.