By Gabrielle Williams | September 29, 2020 at 4:21 PM EDT – Updated September 30 at 7:23 AM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – A UNCW student moves out of her apartment after only one month following incidents that she says made her feel unsafe.
Sophia Scheller, a freshman at UNCW, moved into the Redpoint Apartment Complex on Steamboat Springs Avenue in August. She said within the first few weeks of school, several incidents happened where she felt threatened causing her to move into a different apartment complex.
Scheller, along with several other girls, lived in an apartment near the complex’s pool. Right after they moved in, she said there was a lot of partying happening.
“Just hanging out with some friends when the harassment began, and it was just men banging on the doors, people screaming at us, girls screaming at us,” said Sophia referring to an incident that happened back in August.
Sophia believes most of the people doing the harassing were not Redpoint residents nor UNCW students. She called the apartment security and said the security officer told her to let the people inside because one of them claimed to have left their phone there. Sophia said that was in possible because she and her roommates had been gone all day.
“The men had guns and they were screaming at us,” said Sophia. “And there was one girl with them saying she lost her phone in here. And she wanted to go look in our rooms and in our bathrooms to find it. And at this point, I was fed up.”
That’s when Sophia called police and filed a report, but the harassment didn’t stop there.
“Banging on our doors, threatening us with guns, and they’re going to shoot us if we wouldn’t let them in our house and just stuff like that,” said Sophia. “It got to the point where we had two meetings with a Redpoint manager. My roommates and I and our neighbors. They told us that they were sorry, and that they do something about it, but the problem never got solved.”
Sophia said it got so bad that they would hide in their closets and bathrooms so the people banging on their door and windows wouldn’t see them.
“We all felt like our lives were in danger,” said Sophia. “We had guns pointed to our door telling us…they were telling us that if we didn’t open the door, they were going to shoot us. And it’s just those things shouldn’t happen, especially since we paid that much to live there.”
That’s when she and her roommates moved out. Now, they’re trying to get out of their lease and it’s been a struggle. Sophia and her mom, Michelle, have been calling and emailing Redpoint, calling Redpoint’s parent company, Scion Group. She says nothing is being done.
“I’m disappointed in Redpoint,” said Sophia. “I thought they cared about our safety. But it turns out, they don’t; they don’t care about our safety. They just care about getting their money each month, and they care about their reputation. And I have been contacted by plenty of other students living in Redpoint asking me how I broke my lease, what I’m doing, because they’re having issues too.”
Sophia said she got an email from Redpoint’s manager on Monday that said she can break her lease if she pays over $2,500. Michelle says that will not happen.
“They just want their money by October 16,” said Michelle. “And then they’re also saying that, as an alternative, you may reduce your obligation by identifying new residents. But there is no way that we could even recommend a new resident.”
Sophia and Michelle say it’s not fair they have to pay thousands of dollars to get out of a lease after going through what they’ve been through.
“To be dealing with this as freshmen in college, especially since we have so much going on with school and anxiety already, and dealing with not feeling safe in our own home where we’re supposed to study and sleep,” said Sophia. “It’s an issue. And like I said, it’s not just me. And since I’ve moved out, I’ve been contacted by many people asking me to help them get out of their lease and to give them advice on what to do.”
On Tuesday, Redpoint Wilmington sent an email to residents with some suggestions and reminders to promote personal safety.
We are aware of discussions in the community and on social media regarding potential concerns about safety in the Redpoint community and generally in the Wilmington area. We know it’s important for you be able to come and go from the community as you please, and we want to make sure you’re safe while doing so.
While it’s not possible to guarantee prevention of any action by others, we take measures to provide a secure living experience for you, including security guards who patrol the community at select times, key-fob controlled access to cottages and common areas, as well as regular communication and cooperation with the Wilmington Police.
We want to remind our residents to stay aware of their surroundings and to always take appropriate precautions for their safety and security.
Here are some common suggestions to promote personal safety:
- Stay aware of your surroundings.
- Walk accompanied at nighttime whenever possible.
- Lock all apartment doors and windows securely.
- Close curtains, blinds, and window shades at night.
- Don’t give out your key.
- Notify Redpoint management immediately if you lose your key, or if repairs on locks or doors are needed.
- Lock vehicle doors and roll up windows when leaving your vehicle unattended. · Don’t leave keys in your vehicle or leave it running.
- Don’t leave valuable items in your vehicle, and keep belongings out of sight.
If you learn of any security-related incident or suspected crime, please call 911 or the Wilmington Police Department’s non-emergency number at 910-343-3600. If an incident occurs outside of our office hours, you can still call our main phone number to request our after-hours security team or have a manager paged.
Please also remember, if you see something of concern, say something. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. This community belongs to all of us. And it takes all of us to keep it safe.
WECT has reached out to Redpoint Wilmington and Scion for comment. Neither has responded. We will update this story as responses are received.
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