A police report has been filed and litigation is pending relating to a recent incident at Victorian Square Apartments on John Arden Drive.
Former tenants Joseph and Ashley Powell were in the process of moving out by the end of May when their baby arrived early and they had to stop everything in order to go to the hospital. Joseph said he returned to the apartment several days later to pick up the remainder of their belongings and found everything gone - even though almost a week remained on their paid-up lease.
“We hadn’t even finished boxing it up,” he told the Daily Light. “Our clothes were still on hangars in the closet. Ashley’s wedding dress was in the closet. The stuff in the bathroom had been left as it was.”
The apartment complex has changed its story several times as to what happened, Joseph said, noting that initially he was told all of the items had been discarded into a dumpster.
In a brief telephone interview with the Daily Light, Carsten Mikkelsen, a general partner with the apartment complex, said he was aware of the situation.
“I’m not able to speak about it because we’ve been advised by the Powells’ attorney that he intends to file various lawsuits,” Mikkelsen said, saying he was not able to comment further.
Some of the items have been returned to the Powells.
But not all of them, and Joseph questions how only certain items out of what had been sealed boxes were returned.
As an example, he said two of five “I Love Lucy” collectible dolls were returned. The dolls were all in one box, he said, noting that only a Sega and a Playstation - but not the X-box - were returned out of another box.
The only positive in the situation is that the couple had already moved their furniture and a few clothing items before Ashley went to the hospital to have their child, Joseph said, noting that both of them lost the majority of their clothing, however, as well as almost all of their sentimental items.
Gone from their wedding memorabilia are Ashley’s wedding dress and veil, their wedding photographs, bouquet and boutonniere, wedding book and their toasting glasses.
Among the missing items are memorabilia from their school days, various household appliances and wedding gifts, baby supplies and a stereo system.
Their baby’s first sonogram is nowhere to be found.
“If I had walked into that apartment, I would have thought there was too much stuff in there, too much valuable stuff that people would want to have to have simply left it,” Joseph said. “It’s frustrating to think about it.”
The couple tried to work a settlement out with the apartment complex, but when that fell through, Joseph said they decided to hire an attorney.
“This is nothing short of a burglary and a theft,” said attorney Rodney Ramsey, who is representing the couple on their claim against the apartment complex. “We’re sending them (the apartment complex’ owners) a letter and they can choose to settle or we’ll go to trial. This is one of the most egregious violations of renters’ rights of any I’ve seen in my life.”
The Powells were offered only a third of the value they submitted, Ramsey said, noting there is no way to value some of the items.
“Some of this property is priceless,” Ramsey said. “How can you even put a price on a baby’s first sonogram? On a wedding dress? On your wedding photographs?”
Ramsey described the apartment complex’ response to the situation as “really, really bad.”
“And the result in the courtroom will be really, really bad,” he said. “I can’t wait to see the jury on this case.”
The Powells have filed a complaint with the police department about their property’s disappearance. A spokesman with the department declined comment about the case, citing the ongoing investigation.
E-mail JoAnn at firstname.lastname@example.org