September 19th, 2009 11:50 AM
Apartment 'break in' by mgmt
Dear Daughter goes to school far across the country, in a sleepy little college town, lives with two other gals in a second-story apartment, and help is within arm's reach.
After midnight last night she awoke to hear her roommate talking to two men in the hall outside her bedroom. She didn't think much of it, as the dad of one of the girls visited last weekend, and evidently the tones were not heated. (We've discussed this already.) Turns out the apartment maintenence folks got an emergency call from some guys saying they were at this apartment, and the two "intruders" were as annoyed at the false call anyone. But it seems that they either didn't knock, or knocked and had no answer (they girls had a fan on)... so they let themselves in.
To top it off, the last gal in decided NOT to lock the deadbolt because she thought that was just "over the top". Sigh.
My plan is to have my daughter replace at least the deadbolt, and make it ABUNDANTLY CLEAR WITH THE ROOMMATES that the deadbolt stays locked. I want to reinforce the door with the nifty device presented here a few days ago, but the new lock will take up available cash for this check at least.
Comments? I would particularly like advice on cheap ways to strengthen the door frame, and brands of deadbolts which might be within our range. I *know* not to trust in the $8.95 version, and I kinda can't afford the $350 type. Thanks in advance.
September 19th, 2009 11:54 AM
What exactly were the apartment's maintenance folks doing that required entering an apartment they thought was unoccupied after midnight?
Originally Posted by Paymeister
September 19th, 2009 11:59 AM
One of the easiest and cheapest ways is to replace the screws holding the hinges and strike plates with 3 inchers. The standard ones are usually 1 to 11/2 inches.
The only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. SgtD
September 19th, 2009 12:13 PM
That sounds fishy to me; I would definitely report all that stuff to management ASAP.
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry
September 19th, 2009 12:28 PM
Actually their story was some guys living there called them. No details beyond what I gave you
Originally Posted by Blackeagle
But the question you and edr9x23super raise is a valid one: the apartment manager I just hollered at made it abundantly clear that they NEVER send two guys, and that their behavior suggested that the fellows were nothing of who they claimed to be. If one of the apartment guys DID take a non-employee into a unit, she says that at the least he'll lose his master key and he might be fired. And if it wasn't one of their people she'll have the lock changed today. She asked if the girls had called the authorities (which gives credence to her words of concern).
Of course, my reaction to a new lock was that if it was one of their people using a master key we would put our own lock on the door as they've demonstrated that they can't be trusted with a key to it. She (predictably) raised the "what about a fire or a flood?" argument; my counter was that if it was a flood, call the girls by cell phone since they attend school all of six blocks away, and if its a fire then just break through the door - and I would pay for it!
Thanks for the comments so far; hoping for more.
September 19th, 2009 12:37 PM
Before you do anything, check your lease. Most apts. prohibit any changes, modifications, additions, etc., without their consent in writing. If they do allow it, they'll want a key that opens your new lock.
Typically maintainance personnel have an after hours emergency number just for that purpose. If no one answers the door, they will enter in an "emergency". Again check your lease, for this is usually spelled out.
"First gallant South Carolina nobly made the stand."
Edge of Darkness
September 19th, 2009 12:39 PM
It definitely sounds like something fishy is going on here. Either the management isn't being honest, someone on the maintenance staff is doing something fishy, or someone has a key who isn't supposed to. In any of these cases, I would be very concerned. Getting the lock rekeyed is good. You may want to go a step further and get some sort of internal lock that can't be opened from the outside for the girls to lock when they are at home (something sturdier than the dinky door chains).
Originally Posted by Paymeister
September 19th, 2009 12:41 PM
I'm just one root in a grassroots organization. No one should assume that I speak for the VCDL.
I am neither an attorney-at-law nor I do play one on television or on the internet. No one should assumes my opinion is legal advice.
Veni, Vidi, Velcro
September 19th, 2009 01:04 PM
OK, got the call back from the apt manager (a very sharp and pleasant woman).
1) It was their guy (one guy; we're still waiting for the roommate who confronted him to call, as the report of 'two people' may have been inaccurate);
2) The fellow was called by the renter who lives in same apartment number IN THE NEXT BUILDING, saying he was travelling and would the maintenence guy PLEASE turn off his extremely loud alarm clock as it would disturb the whole building if it rang the next morning for hours on end.
3) The maintenence fellow had never been to this particular property before so he wasn't aware of the duplicate numbering (though a 15 years veteran at his previous job and they didn't want him to leave - only recently hired here),
4) He says he knocked and rang the doorbell per procedure (plausible with the fans and exhaustion on the gals' part),
5) He then let himself in (expecting nobody there), walked into Bedroom #1 and flipped on the light... only to find a girl asleep in the bed. Saying a bad word to himself he turned off the light and began his retreat (hoping she didn't awaken). But she did awake, and confronted him.
6) After leaving, he then went to that same number apartment in the OTHER BUILDING and found and turned off the alarm clock per the caller's request.
7) The maintenence guy forwarded to the manager a long email he had just finished writing to his pals about the incident, and it matched my daughter's report in everything except the number of people (which wasn't seen but guessed from voices) - the email was too long to have been written while they were on the phone.
8) The apartment manager sounded so sharp (think of your best teacher or school administrator), that I'm pretty confident that her BS alarm would have gone off had he been trying to cover. As it was, he laughed ruefully when she called him with, "Did you have any maintenence calls last night...?", saying, "I figured I would get a call on this."
Looks like an honest 'oops' to me, but a useful attention-getter. Turns out they do NOT change out the locks between tenants unless they are missing keys - ludicrous, of course, and I harrumphed at my daughter for letting this one get by. I called and left a message sweetly stating, "This is of course unacceptable, and we'll expect those locks changed. If you don't want to do it today, we'll expect them to be changed out on Monday." And my daughter will be getting some long screws for the plates as well.
September 19th, 2009 01:26 PM
Unfortunately, most apartments follow that same practice of not changing locks when tenants change.
It might be worthwhile for you to put a lock on your daughter's bedroom door, or at least for her to use a door-jam or burglar bar of some kind while she's sleeping.
"We're paratroopers. We're supposed to be surrounded!" Dick Winters
September 19th, 2009 01:54 PM
That's a good way to get permanently put down. They're going to do that once to often, I think. The mere fact they've got a key doesn't grant all-hours access under all conditions. We're talking people's lives and safety here. Lease contract be damned.
After midnight ... so they let themselves in.
Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
self defense (A.O.J.).
How does disarming
the number of victims?
Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos)
NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.
September 19th, 2009 02:04 PM
Time to install a 'motel type' door lock...and have a serious talk with management.
There is absolutely no reason to enter an apartment after sundown...PERIOD!
The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.
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September 19th, 2009 02:24 PM
There is a plastic box that once you place a key inside the box can not be opened until you break the box into bits. It is used for property rentals where the is no reason to be inside the apartment until there is an emergency. Then the box must be replaced.
September 19th, 2009 03:29 PM
The apt complex needs to change policy or explain it better. An alarm clock is no reason to enter an apt after hours - do it first thing in the morning. You may want to explain the possible consequences of that guy's actions to the manager - she probably doesn't get it. Check out those Katy Bars. The maintenance guy needs to find his voice, once inside after no answer from outside he should yell again loud enough to wake anyone inside.
September 19th, 2009 03:46 PM
God, I can't believe this stuff going on at campuses, especially after the Yale murder.
Maintenance should not be going anyplace unless there IS a fire or flood after sundown. Can't the dummy PULL THE PLUG ON THE ALARM CLOCK!!!??? Durring the DAY????, BEFORE it goes off!!?? Still sounds fishy to me.
Good way for this guy to get himself shot too.
Looks like you are doing the right thing, get the locks changed and have the girls watch a home invasion film with dead teenagers all over the screen. Maybe then they will lock the dead bolt.
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