Jun 28, 2013 12:01 AM by Paul Birmingham
TUCSON - It was New Year's Eve 2012. As Lorene Hiland and her husband were busy celebrating, someone else was busy helping themselves to nearly $50,000 worth of jewelry from the couple's apartment at Atria Bell Court Gardens.
Lorene's husband had bought the jewelry while he was serving overseas in the U.S. military.
"I went to my safe, and it was unlocked but closed. I opened it up, and all my jewelry was gone," Hiland says.
Hiland tells the News 4 Tucson Investigators, before the theft, the keys to her safe had simply vanished.
"I thought: I have been robbed. I have been robbed, and I thought, it had to be somebody here. Because, 24-hour security, that's one of the reasons why we moved there. The maintenance, housekeeping, security, the people at the desk, all had access to our apartment," Hiland says.
The News 4 Tucson Investigators combed Police Reports filed by residents at Atria Bell Court Gardens, and we found more than a dozen, detailing tens of thousands of dollars in theft, including items like jewelry, money, even prescription medicine.
And, in case, after case, after case, detectives found the same thing: Unlawful Entry/No Force.
The News 4 Tucson Investigators went to Tucson Police Sgt. Maria Hawke, to see exactly what that might mean when it comes to the investigation.
"In many of these cases, they feel that somebody entered their residence or their apartment and actually took that item. There are no signs of forced entry, so it really is hard for us to nail down specifically when the item went missing or was taken, and then who would the likely suspect be," Hawke says.
Hiland and her husband ended up moving out of Atria Bell Court Gardens not long after they were ripped off.
"We went there for safety and security. We went there because to make life easier for us, and they betrayed us. They treated us like we were villains. They ignored us," Hiland says.
The News 4 Tucson Investigators wanted to get the company's side of the story. In an email, they told us the safety and security of their residents are their highest priorities. They add that last year, they "received and thoroughly investigated a few reports of potential theft in the building." They say they took several measures to improve security, including changing apartment locks and providing special keys that cannot be copied, as well as making lock-boxes available to residents. The company says it was discovered that an employee had allegedly sold some jewelry items at a local pawn shop. That employee is no longer employed with the company.
So far, Tucson Police have not made any arrests in connection with the thefts at Atria Bell Court Gardens. Detectives are now asking anyone with information to call 9-1-1 or 8-8 Crime.
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