Bankier tenants feel unsafe after robbery

By Angelina Cole

Around midnight on March 24, Kimberly Arndt, junior in Business, returned to her apartment at 508 E. Clark St. after spring break. Arndt found open condoms in her parking space and, feeling uneasy, she grabbed her carry-on bag, locked her car door and proceeded to the stairwell leading from the parking garage up to her apartment.

“These two guys came up behind me,” Arndt said. “They cornered me and said to give them all my money. When I told them I only had about $100, they put a gun to my head and held me on the ground.”

Just a few feet away from the stairwell, Arndt kept screaming for her attackers to let her go.

“They ripped my keys out of my hand, and took my purse and iPod and then told me to count to 10,” Arndt said. “When I had finished counting they were gone.”

Arndt’s account of armed robbery was not the first incident in the apartment complex’s parking garage that made residents feel uneasy.

“I had called (Bankier Apartments, owners of the complex) and complained about two weeks before,” Arndt said. “My car was broken into in December. They need to fix the lighting and locks in the garage. It’s dangerous down there and residents don’t feel safe.”

Since Arndt’s armed robbery, another one of the residents has had windows smashed. Previous accounts of stolen radios and cars broken into also add to the tenants’ uneasiness.

“I really don’t like it,” said Erin Wheet, junior in LAS and Arndt’s previous roommate. “I’m now living by myself and I don’t really like to stay here alone. I try to leave before 9 p.m. every night if I have to go out anywhere so I don’t have to go out later.”

Wheet is currently living on her own since Arndt withdrew from the University for the semester. Wheet is also staying in her apartment for the summer and feels she might be a little safer knowing there are male residents in the building.

However, Wheet believes that there are things Bankier Apartments can do for their tenants that are not being done now. Security cameras, gates into the parking garage, even signs saying the area is under surveillance, she suggests, would be beneficial in reducing the vandalism, robbery and sense of danger in the parking garage.

“We’ve called them (Bankier Apartments) before and they’ve said ‘there’s nothing we can do,'” Wheet said. “(In the cases of broken windows) all they can do is break the parking lease and find somewhere else to park. But we’re not paying to have someone break our windows in.”

However, Bankier Apartments is currently looking at ways to help their tenants feel safer.

“We’re going over our entire insurance policy for next year right now,” said Miriam Booth, manager of Bankier Apartments.

Booth said Arndt’s case was reported to the police and an arrest was made. She made no further comments about the incident and what the realtors intended to do for their tenants.

In addition to the new insurance policy, tenants can also help make their apartment complex a safer place by being more vocal about their concerns.

“Report suspicious activity when you see it and call when you feel uncomfortable,” Arndt said. “It’s important for realtors to take these feelings into consideration instead of saying, ‘I don’t know what you want us to do.'”