Rent money burns up in leasing office fire

Rent money burns up in leasing office fire

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by GLENN COUNTS / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @GCountsWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on February 5, 2013 at 8:02 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 5 at 8:21 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Lakewood Manor Apartments are some of the oldest in West Charlotte. Early Monday morning someone broke into the office and set it on fire, police say.

"I live next door, right on the other side of the wall. Me and my nephew and my niece could have been burned up," said resident Carmen Shelton.

She was evacuated by firefighters who quickly put out the blaze.

Carolyn Pigg has lived here for 18 years and never had an experience like this.

"It was pretty scary because when the firemen came to my door I went to the door and he said the building is on fire. He said just grab a jacket, run out and get out as fast as you can,"  Pigg recalled.

The fire was not the only worry; investigators say that whoever broke into the office stole all the rent payments. Mrs. Shelton paid with a money order and the office burned before she got a receipt.

"I would wait on her to give me a printout the next day because she'll throw it in my mailbox, but that's not going to happen this time because they have no record of it," said Shelton.

Now she and several other residents are worried they might be left out in the cold.

Ziad Nasrallah, the owner, says he will work with any resident who has a receipt.

Laconia Stewart doesn’t have to worry, she got her rent in on Friday, but she is concerned for her friends.

"I think it's not right because some people out here is on fixed income; they can only pay what they have to pay their rent, utilities you know, and it’s just sad, it's sad," said Stewart.

Police say that those who wrote money orders should be able to get a receipt by going to the store where they bought it.

Investigators are trying to determine if the arson was done to cover up the break in, or if there was something more personal at work.

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