One high school teacher here is adamant that a medical student, whom she says is of Nigerian stock, is the primary culprit who stole “over $5000” worth of her household goods, after she evicted him.
As the story goes, the 34 years old mother (who is also an educator at one West Kingstown based secondary school) leased her recently purchased, 2 bedroom house to 2 medical students – male and female. This lease came into effect in August 2018 and should have ran up until August the next year. The landlady, speaking in an exclusive ANN interview, disclosed, “as I monitored the house I realized that they were not keeping the house tidy. So I decided it is in my best interest that I ask them to leave the property, so I gave them advance notice and asked them to please leave the property.”
The female tenant left almost immediately after being served with the eviction notice. The male student opted to wait out his $1000 per month lease and only gave up the apartment a few weeks shy of the lease’s expiry date. During his tenure conditions at the apartment are said to have deteriorated further. The landlady reports that the bathroom was deplorable and supplied pictures to show a stained toilet bowl that she vows was in pristine conditions when she let the apartment. She also lists amongst the medical student’s poor housekeeping infractions, a filthily kept washing machine – which she supplied with all the other furnishings and the presence of “ticks from the dog crawling in chairs and on the wall” inside the house. The young doctor-to-be also allegedly allowed his pet to sleep on Teacher/Landlady’s pricey Sleep On It mattresses.
According to our complainant, at the beginning of this rental relationship and in the presence of her cruise ship employed husband and police officer brother, she “gave the guy every single key for every single door of the house. I did not keep any extra copy of the keys. I blatantly admit: I was at fault, I should have kept a copy because it is my house.” By the time the relationship soured Mr. Student only returned one key from the bunch of about ten that he collected nigh unto a year before. “When he left the property he said to me that he had a friend that was staying in the house and that his friend had lost the keys. So when he was about to leave he took one, one key off the bunch, one single key and gave it back to me and say that his friend lost my keys. I don’t know if he was upset because I evicted him or what but he returned one single key on a piece of string to me.” Not only that but she accuses him of “trying to play ‘coopee’ with me – trying to hide, running around the place – giving me the rigmarole” whenever they were supposed to meet so he could return the keys. Eventually our med student handed over the solitary key to a neighbor.
Here again, the Landlady confessed, her naivety must be blamed, “my family encouraged me to report the fact that he did not return my house keys to the Questelles Police Station at the time, however I am a very humble, peaceful person. I’m not a fan of going to the police, I try to avoid those situations. So they encouraged me to make a report; I thought about it and I just decided that I’m not going to. I blatantly admit that here again I made another error. When they were evicted, what I did not do – the biggest mistake I made – I did not change the locks to the doors as soon as they left. I went with the assumption that these Nigerians were speaking the truth. I honestly believed when he said he was making arrangements for his friend to bring it back to me, I honestly believed that.”
Following his demission of the apartment, Teacher/Landlady told ANN, “I went back into the property. I took my relatives – my same police brother and I took my aunt, we went back into the property and inspected the property. All of the items were there; there was no sign of stolen items.” The brand new fridge she bought (on hire purchase and is still paying for) because he complained the first one was faulty, the relatively new stove, washing machine, both the 10 inches and the 6 inches Sleep On It mattresses, brand new bed and the three piece Ashley’s Furniture couch set were all accounted for. Additionally the former tenant’s TV and stethoscope were also noted since he left them behind. The house was not immediately cleaned but secured.
The Coconut Range, Campden Park property, Mrs. Landlady explained, was purchased four years before the rental agreement was struck, through the now defunct Bijou Real Estate Agency owned and operated by Sharleen Greaves of blessed memory. Teacher/Landlady further stated that her house was furnished and secured for much of that time with nary a burglary incident in that neck of the woods. It, she said, was her periodic home whenever her seafaring husband was Stateside. Whenever he voyaged, she would usually live with relatives outside of the area.
Sometime after regaining control of the apartment, Mrs. Landlady was at school while her mother-in-law was showing the apartment to 2 potential tenants. It is at this juncture they would realize certain items were missing. “When she went there I was shocked when she called me at work to say somebody came back into the house and emptied the house basically, they robbed the house of a lot of items.”
Her abrupt departure from her appointed school would enable Mrs. Landlady to solicit the help of three police officers from the Questelles Police Station where she first lodged her burglary complaint. The officers accompanied her “to the scene” where she was advised that there were no visible “signs of forced entry, meaning that no window was broken – nothing. So it was obvious that somebody used the key and went back into the house and I knew that the only persons who had access to the keys to the house were the Nigerians.”
Missing are: a green Oyster iron, the cooking gas bottle and the gas bottle head, bed linens, curtains, one orange and black standing fan, the two Sleep On it mattresses and the former tenant’s TV and stethoscope. Additionally, she claimed, “they went to the freezer and emptied the shelves – they took out the shelves from the brand new fridge. The fridge is there but they emptied the shelves, the part where you’d put ice – the contents of the fridge they emptied those. And then the person decided to steal the one seater from my 3 piece Ashley Furniture couch set! Which I thought was pretty messed up because I can identify it in the wink of an eye.” As she is always photographing her possessions, she noted that she has enough photos to aid in identifying her stolen household goods.
That Tuesday, while at the scene of the alleged burglary, Mrs. Teacher Landlady said she supplied the officers with the name of her most recent tenant. Exactly one week later, she said the police decided to act on her complaint. “I made the report the Tuesday, they actually went the next Tuesday; by then the guy must have hidden the items. The guy took the policemen – they went to arrest him at his work because he’s working at the hospital in town, he’s one of the medical doctors in training. When they went, he took them to some apartment in Sion Hill. They found none of the items that I am claiming…. I don’t know if he took them to the correct apartment….”
She claims several items that were left behind when the tenant turned alleged burglar demitted the apartment, went missing after the break in. These included the TV, stethoscope, books, trash in her kitchen sink and Mr. Student’s ticks ridden dog. However when the police escorted him to his new residence, Mrs. Landlady told us, the only items noted by the police that were similar to those illegally removed from her premises were an Oyster iron which Mr. Student’s current landlord claimed as one of several that formed part of the furnishings of all his apartments. The other was a stethoscope, which the young doctor in training is said to have told the police “he purchased brand new and he don’t know what I am talking about.”
Asbert News Network attempted to contact the alleged burglar, to no avail for sometime. We did reach out to well-placed sources at the Questelles Police Station where a source close to the investigation was able to shed some further light on the development. This confidential informant confirmed that a report was indeed lodged at the Questelles Police Station. According to the C.I. there was a gaping 6 months time lapse between Mrs. Landlady securing the Coconut Range apartment after the tenant left and the burglary report. This, the source said, “it’s not her fault really, I would say, it was 6 months because after she secured the apartment – according to her words – she never went back there until I think she said somebody wanted the apartment to rent… so it wasn’t like she already knew it was broken into and stuff was missing and she took 6 months it’s not like that.”
This source also pointed to at least one unlocked window when the police arrived at the otherwise secured property. The C.I noted that some items could have left the house through the windows. Moreover, “there was at least one door that could have been opened from inside,” the C.I said of the kitchen door. It took some time tracking down the prime suspect the C.I confirmed, as the name Mrs. Landlady supplied to the police was said to be of a student at an overseas campus of the medical college Mr. Student was supposed to be attending. However following an incident where Mrs. Landlady’s mother-in-law accosted the medical student at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, officers caught up him and took him in for questioning. The source also confirmed that the police did take Mr. Student to his apartment where nothing of interest was discovered save the very similar iron, which the new landlord claimed and the readily explained stethoscope.
Furthermore, the police investigations led to the “African guy’s” Coconut Range former neighbors none of whom saw the items being removed from next door. They however confirmed that he did go back to the neighborhood at least once after leaving the house. According to our extremely well informed source, “somebody had to see you coming out of down there with all them stuff – vehicle can’t go down in that hole… you are walking, on a footpath, for about 200 to 300 metres before you can get to her apartment and there’s always guys on the block. Somebody had to see something.”
But according to our chief complainant someone did. A fruit vendor who claims to have been robbed of $100 by the same medical student apparently saw Mr. Student in a car leaving the neighborhood sometime around 5 one early morning. The car, he said, was loaded with household goods. This sighting was not reported as the vendor, for reasons withheld, is reluctant to engage with the police.
As further insight, the confidential informant offered, “I think the investigating officer feel ah kinda how… the woman making him feel like he’s doing her an injustice but really what more can he do, without any new leads? It’s unfortunate what happened to her but she seems to think what she sees on C.S.I would really work here,” while recounting reports of Mrs. Landlady’s queries regarding the absence of any forensic evidence collection procedures.
As the journalistic fates would have it, ANN caught up to the accused while drafting this article. Although he admitted to being Nigerian, he vehemently denied the allegations while claiming, “that person is a liar and I think they are just being stupid, the police should do their work and stop embarrassing themselves with this. I am the prime suspect? I didn’t do anything and it’s getting ridiculous that I still have to be talking about this situation. I am a student what do I need the things I was accused of stealing for? I have not been back to that house.” Mr. Student further disclosed, “I wanted to file a report but I just dropped it because I am a foreigner and the police said I could not talk to the woman because they can come and arrest me.”
The medical student then went on to explain what happened the day he was picked up for questioning, an ordeal he said that lasted at least 6 hours. “They came to pick me up from the hospital and brought me to my house to search. When they didn’t find anything, they said I have to follow them to the police station to fill out a statement, that it was procedure. When I got there they started questioning me…. See they took me from the hospital to my house they searched my apartment and then asked me to follow them to the police station. But they didn’t go straight, first they took me around town on their personal errands and when we got to the station I was questioned for like 30 minutes and then they just kept me there for like 6-7 hours. And won’t let me go get food or water.”
Our confidential informant was unavailable to offer any confirmation to this new twist.
As for his pet, which Mrs. Landlady said was gone after the robbery, the student claims it was adopted by his former neighbors.
Meanwhile Mrs. Landlady, who has declined to publish her name, is appealing to the Vincentian public to keep a watchful eye out for her missing items since the cost of replacing them is an additional strain on her finances. She told us “I am appealing to the public for their help, please say something. I was thinking of offering a reward but I can’t afford one so I’m not going to say that I’m going to do that and can’t fulfill my end of the promise.” Currently, she is perusing a masters degree which is another cost heavy undertaking. And her bank, she says, is expressing its displeasure since the items were purchased using a loan. “I asked them to assist me with replacing the stolen items and they are not very pleased about it because I had just [secured the loan] to purchase them and to come back now and ask the bank to replace them, they are displeased about it.” She further expressed, “while I praise the police for their efforts I’m just concerned about the timing in which they decided to handle the situation.”
Her next step is to secure an audience with Chief of Police Colin John to see if he could better coordinate the police response. In the meantime she is urging property owners here, “when leasing your property please conduct a thorough background check on the potential tenants. Always ensure you keep your contract and termination letters safe like I did. Always have a witness when leasing your property and on eviction, install cameras if possible. Constantly take photos of your property before and after leasing it and change your locks immediately following evictions.”
Since the break in she has installed new locks and is currently waiting to have surveillance cameras installed. A move the police encouraged as, “people need to stop taking things for granted. I’ve been on burglary scenes before and I see what some of these burglars are capable of, locking a window or a door sometimes don’t even make sense, that’s the easiest thing for them to open.” Burglar bars, alarm systems and security cameras should be investments made by today’s property owners when securing their assets, our police informant advised.