SILVER SPRING, Md. — Police have charged a Rockville man with burglary after he allegedly took a gaming console from a unit of the Arrive Apartment complex following a deadly fire.
According to a release from the Montgomery County Department of Police (MCPD), 43-year-old Rasheed Duvall is accused of taking a PlayStation 5 from one of the fire victim's apartments.
Montgomery County Fire Rescue personnel were called to the Arrive Apartment complex on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring after a fire sparked on Feb. 18. The fire claimed the life of 25-year-old Melanie Diaz.
While crews were working to evacuate residents and extinguish the flames, firefighters had to force their way into several apartments by breaking locks and doors.
On the day of the fire, officers were told some people had noticed a person in the area acting suspiciously. That person was later identified as Duvall.
Duvall allegedly left the high-rise but later went back inside the building to hide a Playstation 5.
Upon returning to their units, one resident called police to report that their apartment had been burglarized and their PlayStation 5 was gone.
Investigators identified Duvall as the suspect and obtained a search warrant for his car. That is where police say they located the stolen game console.
Duvall was arrested on Feb. 24 and taken to the Montgomery County Central Processing Unit, where he was charged with first-degree burglary and theft $100 to under $1,500. He is being held without bond.
This is not the first instance of reported theft from the victims of the Arrive Apartment complex fire. Two residents told WUSA9 that not only had they been displaced after the fire, but said the building management broke a promise to keep their belongings safe.
The couple, who were home when the fire began, claim management assured them their belongings would be protected, only to find a severe lack of security and their items out in the open.
"We were told the units would be padlocked, guards on every floor, to make sure no one broke in and stole our belongings," said Giana Gronowski.
Other residents claim their belongings are being held hostage by management who want them to sign a waiver agreeing to not sue.
"She said nobody was forcing us to sign the waiver, we could just not sign it and lose all of our belongings," resident Em Espey said. "We feel like we're fighting an uphill battle that we shouldn't be having to fight."
California-based Trinity Property Consultants, an affiliate of FPA Multifamily denied Espey’s claims and compared the legal release to the disclaimer on the back of sports tickets warning of being hit by foul balls.
“For our residents' safety, it is imperative that they are made aware of the potential health impacts and risks...” the company said in a written statement. "We want to ensure our residents are educated on the potential contamination of their belongings. We are not public health officials and cannot say whether or not specific items within their homes may have been contaminated or are safe. Out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our residents, the release waiver acknowledges that residents understand that if they choose to remove belongings from their home, that they understand the health risks."
The Trinity statement added that the company is doing everything in its power to work with residents.
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