RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – A Richmond mother said she did not realize just how thin the walls were in her apartment until she got a rude awakening Tuesday morning.
Shane Ward said she thought crews were doing construction in the building.
Instead, U.S. Marshals were in the apartment directly below Ward’s trying to arrest 33-year-old Shawn Rives of Petersburg.
Investigators said Rives, who was eventually arrested on an outstanding federal warrant and charged with distributing and possessing cocaine, tried to make a run for it by kicking through the drywall and eventually ending up in a 5-year-old girl’s bedroom next door.
“Kicking down the wall to get to the next apartment without the door? I mean, who does that,” Ward asked.
KBS Construction’s Jon Reed said getting through is possible, especially in older apartments since these days only a small bit of insulation and soundproofing are required. But in most apartments, there’s not much in between the drywall and the insulation.
“In older apartments, you may have thinner drywall. So instead of five-eighth inch, which is typical now, you may have half inch of drywall,” Reed said.
Despite such thin walls, Richmond’s Commissioner of Buildings said he has never heard of a case like this. Therefore, there’s no building code in place to create more of a barrier between neighbors.
“As far as security, the code doesn’t really address that. It’s more of a fire and sound issue,” says Doug Murrow said.
Ward said she now considers the matter a safety issue after what happened.
“Should I feel safe? You know what I mean… You never know who is living next door,” Ward said.
The 5-year-old girl in the neighboring bedroom was not hurt.
Rives is being held without bond.