Police have received two reports from residents of a downtown apartment building who say jewelery, cash and other items were stolen from their homes after a massive fire earlier this month.
Residents of the Link Apartments on West Street were forced to leave March 16 when a fire destroyed another apartment building that was under construction across the street. The blaze scorched the exterior of the Link, and some apartments sustained smoke and water damage.
Crystal Sheppard, 41, told Raleigh police a $3,000 watch was missing from her apartment after the fire. Sheppard said she returned to her apartment the weekend after the fire to get clothes and some sentimental items, including pictures and paintings.
“I didn’t think to grab my watch,” she said. “I don’t wear it often.”
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Six days after the fire, Sheppard said, she returned to her apartment and saw that her belongings had been moved into a pile in the living room. That’s when she realized the watch was gone.
“I know it was there,” she said.
A second resident told police that items worth $580 were missing from his apartment. The items include a $200 portable speaker and $20 in cash, according to a police report.
Emily Ethridge, a spokeswoman for Grubb Properties, which manages the 204-unit building, has said the company hired Disaster One to assess and clean up the damage inside the Link.
“What I can tell you is that the security of our community and our residents’ belongings is extremely important to us,” Ethridge wrote in an email Wednesday. “To that end, we hired off-duty police officers to patrol and guard the building 24 hours a day. We will continue to work with our residents on any issues they may encounter, and we appreciate their patience and understanding.”
A news release from Raleigh police on March 17, the day after the fire, said officers had secured the Link and the Quorum Center, which was also damaged in the fire.
Many Link residents can start moving back into their apartments Friday. About 50 apartments are so damaged that it will take longer for repairs to be made, Ethridge said.
Sheppard said it’s unfortunate that her watch is missing. But she said Link employees have been helpful.
Although she can’t return to her apartment, Sheppard hopes another Link apartment will be available for her.