Residents Displaced After Odenton Apartment Fire Burglarized
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ODENTON, Md. (WJZ) — Victimized again. Just days after a three-alarm fire destroys more than a dozen apartments in an Odenton complex, several of those condemned apartments are burglarized.
Derek Valcourt explains the burglaries happened despite an increase in security.
What’s so shocking is this happened even though there’s a fence around the entire building and a private security company was hired to stand guard.
The fire at this Seven Oaks apartment building in Odenton one week ago destroyed some units and left the rest of the building uninhabitable, forcing residents like James Cole to leave all their belongings inside.
“I got a call then, saying, ‘Hey, your place got burglarized.’ I’m like, ‘Oh God, what’s next?’” Cole said.
Sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, someone broke into 11 locked apartments, stealing things like TVs, jewelry, electronics, even a safe. In one apartment, thieves stole seven guns–all despite fencing and a private security company on guard.
“Where was security? They were supposed to have 24 hour security here and obviously the security wasn’t doing its job,” Cole said. “How can you go into 11 apartments in that amount of time and take all that stuff and no one notices? I don’t understand it.”
Police don’t understand it either. As part of their investigation, they are promising to take a closer look at what the private security was doing when this all happened.
“With the amount of property that was stolen, the amount of burglaries that took place, this was not the work of one person. And if it is the work of one person, it took an extended period of time to get all this stuff. So we’re looking at every angle right now,” said Lt. T.J. Smith, Anne Arundel County Police.
Friday afternoon, frustrated residents were allowed to begin removing some of their property–many grabbing whatever they can, whatever thieves hadn’t already taken.
“First you don’t have a spot. Then, the apartments don’t want to let you in. They’re taking their time doing due diligence and then this happens. How much worse can it get, really?” said Bryan Alabo.
Friday afternoon, police canvassing an area nearby found six of the seven stolen guns. Their investigation into the burglaries continues.
Fire investigators expect to be able to release a preliminary cause for the fire on Monday. They estimate the fire caused $2 million dollars worth of damages.
Anne Arundel county police are asking anyone with information on the robberies to call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-LOCKUP. You can remain anonymous and your tip could earn some reward money.
A fund has been set up to to help the victims of the Seven Oaks fire. For more information, click here.
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