Apartment manager charged with $11K theft
SUSQUEHANNA, SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY (WOLF) -- Police say rent records at a Susquehanna County apartment complex did not add up, and the Housing Authority discovered the manager was pocketing some of the money, to the tune of $10,000.
We have reaction from residents in the affordable housing complex.
In a town known for the nearby railroad viaduct, police say Pamela Ervin-Rockwell, 51, of Rockwell Road, was trying to build a bridge to financial security.
According to police, the method she picked was stealing money from her job as manager of the Prospect Park Apartments.
The criminal complaint says she told police the Housing Authority cut her hours about a year ago, and she needed the money to maintain her living expenses.
"That is false because she was up here non-stop. She chose to leave at certain different timings," says tenant Joshua Craige. "I find it to be very wrong on so many levels. There are people actually up here who can't really afford other places."
"That's why we live here, because we have to live on a short-based income. I mean, I work. I have two kids to take care of and I work and I live off what I have. You just have to make cuts," says a woman who lives in the complex.
Some residents told me they paid certain fees or their rent in cash, and were later told that they had not actually paid.
There are now postings dated in December at the entrances, saying to pay with checks or money orders only.
"I thought I was gonna lose my dog because they said that they didn't have in my file that the money was there," says the tenant. "And your mom paid for it?" we asked. "Yes," she says.
That tenant says she and her mom trusted Ervin-Rockwell, but that last month the housing director told her she had not paid her $300 dog fee.
"We never asked for a receipt. We knew her personally, so she stuck it in the drawer," says the tenant.
Another tenant says Ervin-Rockwell told her the machine was broken and she couldn't give a receipt.
Meantime, a different tenant says her $400 dollar rent and pet fee deposit that she paid was called into question, and yet another says about $800 dollars in rent money that she paid was also asked for again.
The missing money was only from cash payments, the complaint states.
"Pretty much they were paying cash when they weren't supposed to, but the landlord had never told them," says Craige.
"I really have no problem with her. Ever since we started here, we always paid by check, so everything went through the banks," says tenant Mike Snyder.
Tenants say Erwin-Rockwell has not been around for a few weeks.
The complaint says Erwin-Rockwell first denied it when the Housing Authority Director Karen Allen confronted her about a discrepancy in November, but later admitted she stole it for personal reasons.
"I was kind of surprised, but you know, these days things like that do happen," says Snyder.
Police say $10,515 went missing from January to November. The six-building complex on Prospect Avenue has 43 apartment units.
Ervin-Rockwell was arraigned on theft charges Thursday and released on her own recognizance while awaiting her next court date.
Update Sunday: Husband Joel Rockwell says by phone that Pamela is now his "ex" after he learned about the charges by a news report on Thursday, and is no longer living at the home on Rockwell Rd. He also says he is "devastated" and doesn't understand why she would take money, adding that the house is all paid off.