Woman seeks $10M
Suit says complex failed to provide adequate security
By ERIC HARTLEY Journal staff writer
A Fort Washington woman who was abducted in front of her
apartment and locked in the trunk of her car is suing the
owners of her complex, claiming they failed to provide
Jacenta Diane Collins, 26, filed the lawsuit last month in
Prince George's County Circuit Court accusing the owner and
operator of the Rosecroft Gardens apartments of negligence.
Prince George's County police said Richard Lee Harrison, 24,
approached Collins as she was getting out of her car at 1:15
a.m. Dec. 7.
Harrison demanded Collins' ATM card and personal
identification number, then forced her into the trunk of her
car, police said. He then drove to several ATMs and withdrew
money before leaving the car - with Collins inside - in
Forestville, police said.
Collins was found uninjured the next day.
Harrison was arrested Dec. 13 after police released a
picture of a man using Collins' ATM card at an Upper
Marlboro bank. He was charged with kidnapping, robbery and
carjacking but has not gone to trial.
In her lawsuit, Collins says the complex's owner, Aimco
Rosecroft Mews L.D., and operator, Apartment Investment and
Managament Co., failed to exercise "reasonable care" for
Collins' lawyer, Henry Weil, said that landlords cannot
ensure residents' safety, but that Rosecroft Gardens should
have had more security because it is in a high-crime area.
"Essentially, they had zero," Weil said. "And that's the
key: If they had even provided minimal security, this might
not have happened."
There was a fence around the complex, but it had a large
hole in it that had not been repaired, Weil said.
In addition, Collins' lawsuit says, there should have been
better lighting in the complex's parking lots.
Collins "suffered severe and permanent physical and
emotional injuries," according to her lawsuit, which seeks
$10 million for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and
"She is in a dire situation right now, emotionally and
physically," Weil said.
Collins since has moved out of Rosecroft Gardens.
Susan Toland, the property manager at Rosecroft Gardens, was
out of the office Friday. Officials at Aimco's local office
did not return a telephone call seeking comment Friday
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