parking garage

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is still investigating a carjacking from Feb. 1 at the RUSH Student Living apartment complex where a 20-year-old woman was held at gunpoint and robbed of her car and cellphone by two unknown individuals.

The victim reported seeing a laser over her shoulder and then hearing beating on her window. The victim saw the firearm, rolled down the window and gave her phone and keys to the suspects.

Danielle Young, a resident of the complex, saw the victim wandering through the RUSH parking deck. Young told WCNC Charlotte that it was "Very unsettling to see, and it especially hurts when it's someone you care about, your friend, to know that it could happen to anyone."

This carjacking is not the first for RUSH. Two cars were stolen within 24 hours in September of 2020, however, without a firearm.

"I have always been wary of the garage space, even before the carjacking," RUSH resident and UNC Charlotte senior Chiamaka Okonkwo told the Niner Times.

"After all, we do live in a busy city and in an area of Charlotte in which crime and especially car theft are not uncommon. With this knowledge, I have felt just as safe before and after [the armed robbery], and I have actually previously felt that the presence of just one or two security guards at the garage entrance has been welcome and sufficient in the case that there was a security threat in the evenings and late at night."

According to a press release by Alex O'Brien, Chief Executive Officer of Cardinal Group Companies, the parent company of RUSH Student Living, no security guards were present at the time of the robbery.

Okonkwo told the Niner Times that the apartment complex has since ramped up security.

"I have noticed much more security presence in the garage spaces, mainly to ensure that drivers entering the resident-only levels of the garage have a parking pass in the driver's windshield," she said. "I have also seen security guards quickly redirect any drivers who do not have resident access."

However, an increased security presence does not always create a safer environment for everyone.

"As a Black woman, I do think that the presence of CMPD in our garage spaces and having access to entry spaces raises new safety concerns," said Okonkwo. "I think that having an incident reporting system and the continued effort to increase garage surveillance could go a long way."

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is still investigating the case but have yet to make an arrest.

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