Property managers at 1221 E Brookland Park Blvd. tell us that vandals broke into the building Wednesday afternoon and attempted to steal copper piping that led to the hot water heater in the second floor laundry room.
The pipe was connected to a main water line in the building, so when it was removed, gallons of water flooded from the second floor down to the first, according to property managers.
Bright orange signs stamped with “condemned” are now posted all over the building.
“I mean you probably couldn’t get $2 off the copper that was stolen and caused thousands dollars of damage,” says a noticeably irritated Bobby McIntosh, who is the property manager at the apartment building.
The building was scheduled to close later this month for renovations, and McIntosh believes that when word got out, these vandals looked to take advantage.
Although tenants had until the end of this month to move out, many are now scrambling to find a new place to live earlier than they expected.
“Water seeps through there, I’ve lost everything,” says Alice Jefferson, who lives in the building.
Jefferson and the others who were displaced will spend the next two nights in a hotel courtesy the Red Cross, who was called to apartment building Wednesday afternoon.
Those displaced spent several hours at Boaz and Ruth’s Thrift Store down the street. The shop opened its doors after hours to help shelter the displaced.
Like many of the other tenants, Jefferson now considers herself homeless.
Jefferson’s anger at this situation is directed at the people who busted the pipe.
“Because right now, I don’t think they could walk a mile in our shoes,” she says. “Because we don’t know where we’re going.”
Windows and doors on the first floor have been boarded up. Richmond Police officers will monitor the area checking for trespassers.
Tenants expect they will be able to go inside and gather their things later this week.