NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Norfolk neighborhood is at the end of its rope after a series of break-ins, and residents are raising concerns about their safety going forward.
This is after cars were vandalized and broken into at the Belmont at Freemason Apartments in the downtown area of the city.
Evelyn Kopko just moved into the Belmont at Freemason in July and says she’s already planning to move out. Kopko’s car was broken into on Thanksgiving night and she says she doesn’t feel safe living there anymore.
“I was going to work at 5:30 in the morning and I saw glass shattered all over the ground and both windows were smashed,” said Kopko.
She says nothing was taken, except her sense of security and she’s not alone.
“Every floor is getting hit and this has been going on I would say at least two months, but like 10 to 20 cars a night it’s happening,” said Kopko. “I feel like I am being hunted in this building.”
Kopko says she plans to break her lease and move out of the apartments because she doesn’t feel safe.
“I’m worried more about my safety here,” said Kopko. “I don’t want to be attacked and everyone else feels the same way, it’s not just me.”
Evelyn says she and several other residents have contacted apartment management and says the complex is expecting residents to rely on their own car insurance to get the windows fixed.
Evelyn paid out of pocket to repair the damage to her car but asked management for insurance information so she could try to get reimbursed.
“Their response was well you have car insurance,” said Kopko. “I said you own this building and you need to give me the name and she would not answer me.”
10 On Your Side contacted Kotarides, the company that owns the Belmont at Freemason, and they released this statement to us:
We have been and continue to be proactively responding to the concerns of our residents. The safety of our residents and our communities are of utmost priority. We continue to cooperate with law enforcement and city officials to address these issues.Statement from Kotarides
Residents say the complex does have cameras and they also hired a security guard. Evelyn hopes management will install a secure entryway that would only allow residents in.
“All we are trying to do is park our cars and go home and we can not do that with peace of mind, we cannot do that here,” said Kopko.
Evelyn says she’s incredibly frustrated and worried that these car burglaries and break-ins could escalate to more.
“I come out in the morning to go to work and I feel like I am being hunted like somebody is going to get me,” said Kopko.
Officers have told Evelyn the suspects are coming in on bicycles and scooters. She says she’s seen them here before on scooters and told the police about it.
When asked about the break-ins, The Norfolk Police Department told WAVY that they’re investigating several in this area. NPD also released the following statement:
The Norfolk Police Department has 11 larceny from auto reports and 3 vandalism reports on file that occurred in the 200 block of York Street, and 3 larceny from auto reports and 3 vandalism reports that occurred in the 300 block of Boush Street. All incidents reportedly occurred between November 19th and November 20th. The investigation is still ongoing at this time, and anyone with additional information about any of these incidents is encouraged to contact the Crime Line.Statement from Norfolk Police Department
The timing of the incidents confirmed by NPD coincided with the night of the Grand Illumination event in Downtown Norfolk. The parade route went through the Freemason area.
The Norfolk Police Department also reminds everyone to always remove valuables from their vehicles before leaving them unattended.