Police Let Burglars Ransack Low-Income Apartment Building After Landlord's Arrest
When Phoenix resident Pedro Cons was forced out of his apartment earlier this year, he never expected that would be the last he'd see of his possessions. But within 24 hours, everything of value was gone.
“That night they moved us out, that's when they broke in,” said Cons of the burglars. “I came back [two days later] with a police escort because they had the keys…all the doors broke in. Everything was broke.”
Cons' building owner, 54-year-old Elijah Brown, was arrested January 19. According to police, the alleged slumlord "swindled dozens of tenants of money and government benefits" through his nonprofit, Rooming, Inc.
Police condemned the building for fire code violations after investigating the property.
"I talked to four different police officers and each one of them told me that they're gonna have the security here 24/7," Cons told ABC News.
This was not the case. Cons and his fellow tenants are unlikely to be compensated, says Tempe attorney Robert Sewell.
"Tenants would have to show that the government did something negligent, that they did something wrong — that they undertook to secure the building but then didn't secure it properly,” Sewell explained.
Given the tenants' removal, Cons strongly believes the city of Phoenix should be held accountable.