BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Rushing to his early morning class, Kegan Lambert had an ugly surprise waiting at his car.
"I was like, man who did this?" said Lambert.
The student's passenger window was busted. What little cash that was inside was stolen. He wasn't the only victim.
The Baton Rouge Police Department said 25 cars were broken into overnight at the Palisades apartment complex, a popular housing choice for students at Southern University. Police say the suspect or suspects made off with personal items and at least one handgun. Investigators say apartments make for easy targets.
"Just like any apartment complex in the area there are an abundance of cars there. They're an easy opportunity to take advantage of," said Cpl. L'Jean Mckneely with BRPD. "Guys walk around and they check those vehicles, a lot of them check the handles to see if they're unlocked, if not they will smash the windows."
However, it seems the Palisades is an easier target than most. Last December, a worried parent of a renter called 9 News after a different set of burglaries. Then, the parent pointed to obvious problems like a security gate that seemed to always be open and damaged fencing. At the time, Charles Moore, the property manager, referred all questions to the corporate office, Ambling Management. An Ambling spokesperson would not answer anything
about the property's security.
However, the complex did send residents a letter alerting them to the break-ins and giving safety tips. Nearly a year later, Lambert said the front gate is still open most of the time. While some holes in the fence are patched, many remain. Lambert said he does not feel safe.
"It makes me feel that I'm not protected at an apartment I actually pay rent at," said Lambert.
The resident also said that after these recent the break-ins, another office manager made an odd request.
"She requested that everyone whose car was broken into, not to fill out an insurance claim," explained Lambert, who did not fill out a claim. "I guess she was trying to protect herself. She asked for us to pay out of pocket."
Again, 9News asked Moore about the burglaries and again he referred questions to the corporate office. When asked about the insurance claims, Moore said he wasn't aware of anyone in his office telling residents not to file.
"I'm not sure where that's coming from. That doesn't even make sense," said Moore.
Moore also said that the complex is holding a safety meeting for residents with BRPD Wednesday evening.
Courtney Gordon from Rise Real Estate said that there was no reason residents would be advised against filing a claim and the company asks residents to keep renters insurance for any damage to their personal property.
"We, at RISE, have recently taken over management of the property," said Gordon in a statement. "We have some good ideas and programs to put in place to eliminate these types of incidents. We will partner with local law enforcement to enhance security and engage the community to help identify elements of threat to a peaceful residence."