Men accused of breaking into apartment & starting fire

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A maintenance crew at the Town and Country Apartments was checking on a vacant unit this morning when they got an unexpected surprise.

"They were locked in this room right here," said Frank Johnson.

Two men had broken into the apartment and were still inside.

"I think they were more surprised to see us," said Johnson.

The criminals had set the carpet on fire.

"When they heard me trying to open the door - they jumped out the window and took off running," he said.

Frank Johnson and his co-worker gave chase on foot. Danny Alvarado, another maintenance employee -- jumped in his car and pursued as well.

"They were running down the street toward me and they cut through the apartments and jumped a few fences" said Danny Alvarado. "They ended up going into the woods and that's when we lost then."

But the property manager was still hot on the suspects' heels.

"I started chasing them in my truck and I called 911. The police got there saw them running and tackled them," said Paula Brooks.

The property manager says crime on this property will not be tolerated.

"I think we have to do what we got to do to stay involved and show residents we care. If somebody is on our property that doesn't belong here, that's up to no good, we make every effort to get them out of here," said Brooks.

The employees say they weren't trying to apprehend the men but rather keep the suspects in sight to help police. Luckily no one was injured.

Investigators have not released the identities of the suspects. We do know they're charged with arson and breaking and entering.

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