An unknown man allegedly broke into an apartment and watched residents sleep before fleeing at the Plaza on University early Monday morning.
Orange County Sheriff's officer Autumn Chouinard responded to a call at 2:27 p.m. about a burglary and battery at an occupied UCF-area apartment.
Resident Natasha Mistry told deputies that at 1 a.m. Monday, an unknown male was in her room watching her sleep. She wasn’t aware of the man’s presence until he started touching her arm against her will. After waking up, she screamed at him and he left her room after a delayed response, leading her to believe he might have been intoxicated, according to the OCSO report.
The man then reportedly entered the room of Mistry’s roommate, Abigail Bernhardt, who was sitting in the dark getting ready to go to sleep. At first, she said she thought it was one of her roommates, but after the individual didn’t identify himself, she turned on her bedside lamp and the man quickly exited her room and shut her door. Bernhardt said in the report she never saw the individual who was in her room.
Kaitlen Hennessy, another apartment resident, told deputies she slept through the whole incident, but said she might have heard someone tugging at her locked door handle. She said she thought it was just one of her roommates.
The apartment’s fourth resident, Arianna Rich, said in the report she was lying in bed when she heard the front door of the apartment opening and closing. She got up to see who it was and when she entered the kitchen, she saw someone abruptly close the door. When she went and opened the front door to see who it was, she saw a man standing by the stairwell.
Rich could not see his face. She shut the door and watched through the peephole as the man came back and tried to open the door to the apartment. Rich called security, who told her they would look for the man and she and her roommates did not have to call the police.
Later, security came back and asked Rich to identify a man they found sitting on a bench in the apartment complex. Based on his appearance, Rich said she believed it was the same man.
The residents did not call police at that time because security guards reportedly told them they would handle the situation. After talking to their parents, the roommates decided to call the OCSO in the morning.
The OCSO attempted to get in touch with Signal 88 Security, the company in charge of patrolling the property at night, but did not receive a response.
According to the report, there was no sign of forced entry at the apartment. The residents said in their statements they locked both the front and back doors of the apartment, but the dead bolt on the front door could be “jiggled” to an unlocked position. Chouinard called maintenance while on the scene and they responded.
The Central Florida Future reached out to the Plaza on University for comment, but did not receive a response.
Chouinard said in the report she advised her roommates to ensure both the front door and the doors to their individual rooms were locked while they are sleeping from now on as a precaution.
The residents tell the Central Florida Future they are unable to comment at this time. They did tell deputies they wish to press charges and testify in court.
Deputies describe the unknown suspect as a black man between the ages of 18 to 25, around 6 feet tall and weighing about 180 pounds, with black hair and a medium complexion. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt.
It is unknown whether any of the parties involved are UCF students. This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.
Deanna Ferrante is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future.