UCF-area complex The Marquee sees influx in crimes
In the past seven weeks, police have responded to four separate incidents at The Marquee apartments, formerly Sterling Central.
The most recent incident occurred Tuesday night at about 11:14 p.m., when a six-foot-tall white male was allegedly attempting to open cars on the first floor of the Phase 1 parking garage, according to a report from the Orange County Sheriff's Office. A suspect in this incident has not yet been apprehended at this time.
Despite bringing in new management and a recent name change, The Marquee has been the stage of three other criminal incidents, all robberies, over the past two months.
The series of incidents began on Oct. 1 after a resident was robbed at gunpoint in the Phase 1 parking garage stairwell at the then-Sterling Central apartments, according to OCSO.
Almost two weeks later on Oct. 13, there was another armed robbery in which the suspect brandished a gun and stole the victim's phone, according to an OCSO release. Deputies said they believed the two incidents were connected.
Three days later, Sterling Central announced it was going to change management and operate under a new name, The Marquee, according to a document distributed to residents by Asset Campus Housing, the new management company for the complex.
On Oct. 20, four days after the announcement was made, a suspect in the armed robberies, Darrious Pettress, was arrested, according to OCSO's Facebook. Pettress is not a UCF student, although he lived at the complex with his girlfriend.
For the rest of the month into mid-November, there were not any other incidents, until Nov. 10 when a resident was reportedly punched and robbed by two unknown suspects while in a parking garage at the complex.
The resident was walking in the north parking garage when a man called out to him and another punched him in the face, causing him to drop his wallet and phone, according to a report from the OCSO.
Five dollars were reportedly stolen from the victim's wallet while he was again punched in the face. The victim, a Valencia student, then went to a friend's apartment and found a security guard, who called 911, before going to the Oviedo Emergency Room. The victim was believed to have an unconfirmed broken jaw and was found with lacerations in his mouth and swelling on his face.
The Marquee sent out an email the next day to residents that, contrary to the UCF alert sent out about the incident, the incident was only a fight, not a robbery, and a police report had not been filed.
"This incident has not been considered a robbery and no charges have been pressed against either party," the email stated. "We do apologize for the inconvenience that was caused to the residents who received the text and email messages from UCF last night."
A day after that email was sent out, The Marquee sent out another email stating that since the previous email, a report had been filed with the OCSO.
Following the incident, The Marquee implemented a new access policy, requiring residents to go through a check point manned by a courtesy officer. Residents must show their IDs to gain access and must also escort their guests.
Because The Marquee is not owned by the university, UCF Police Department public information officer Courtney Gilmartin said the complex is out of the department's jurisdiction. OCSO did not respond before the time of publication to give its take on this series of crimes.