U.S. & World

Woman wakes to find strange man staring at her, finds out she has same lock as neighbor

AUSTIN (KXAN) - A Texas woman says she is terrified to go to sleep after she woke up to one of a renter's worst nightmares: an unknown man in her apartment walking towards her as she slept.


She said it happened on Nov. 20 after the landlord of her south Austin apartment complex changed all of the locks and some tenants ended up with the same key.


"He walked past the couch, he walked past the fireplace and then he gets to here," said Ronda, who asked NBC4's sister station KXAN not to use her last name since there hasn't been an arrest. "He's walking to me and then he trips, and when he trips I know I'm no longer alone."


It's an image she says she will never forget.


"When I close my eyes I see him, I see clear like it happened to me five minutes ago," Ronda said. "He was a Hispanic man with a mustache. [He was] smiling at me. He had on a blue and white shirt with long sleeves."


Ronda said she immediately sat up in her bed, said she was going to call 911 and then ran to her bedroom door.


"Anything I could lift, anything that I could pick up, I picked up and I pushed it in front of the door and then called 911," she said.


When police arrived they didn't find a man in her apartment and aid there was no evidence of forced entry. That's when Ronda remembered a text she got from her landlord.


"We will have all units re-keyed and we will get you new keys today," the text read.


Ronda said she immediately went next door and was able to unlock her neighbor's door with her key.


Apartment complex owners say they hired an independent contractor, JBQ, to change the locks.


"JBQ purchased new Defiant brand locks from Home Depot in brand new packaging for the replacement. I cannot truly speculate as to what resulted in JBQ giving two neighboring tenants the same lock and key, however, I must presume JBQ was unaware that two of locks were the same combination of keys. As soon as Regency was notified of matching keys, locks were immediately changed again and it was confirmed no matches exist," said Regency Property Manager Jeff Overton.


But Ronda said it's too late, the damage is already done. She she she's lost sleep since the incident and has a knife at all times by her bed.


"I cannot sleep. There is no way I can close my eyes," she said. Now Ronda says she is trying to move from her apartment and hire a lawyer. Low on funds, she's created a GoFundMe page to help pay for her expenses.


The Austin Police Department says they are actively investigating this case but have not made any arrests.



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