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Stranger Danger!

, , , , | Legal | January 17, 2021

My husband and I live in an apartment. It is a nice building with an onsite residential manager (the equivalent of a super), and some facilities like a small gym, communal courtyard, and bicycle lock-up. In short, it is not the kind of place you would expect the following story to happen in.

We have lived there for about six months when the neighbours report stuff being moved while they were out, cupboards being left open when they were sure they had shut them, and so on. I have come home to the television being left on when I was sure I had turned it off, but I just assumed I was mistaken. We joke about a ghost.

I never really think much about it until I come home early from work one day so I can prepare for our holiday the following week. As I approach the door, I hear that the television is on. I am certain I turned it off when I left, but I shrug it off, assuming I was just being absent-minded. However, when I open the door and make my way into the living room, I see somebody sitting on the sofa.

At first, I think it is my husband. Perhaps he planned to surprise me by finishing work early, as well. But as I walk over to the sofa, I realise to my horror that the man sitting there is not my husband; it is a stranger.

When the man realises I am there, he becomes startled, spinning around to face me, clearly not expecting me to be there.

Me: “I… Who are you and why are you in my apartment?”

The man scowls at me at first but then shrugs.

Man: “Oh, it’s okay. The building owner is my dad. I’m allowed to be here.”

Me: “I… I wasn’t notified of any work that needed doing.”

Man: “My dad owns this place. I’m allowed to be in here. It’s basically my place.”

Me: “This is my apartment. You can’t just come in and make yourself at home. It’s a breach of—”

The man stands and steps around the sofa as if to approach me but thankfully doesn’t come any closer. I am suddenly terrified. The man is at least six feet tall and easily twice my weight.

Man: “My dad owns this place. I have every right to be here.”

Unsure of what else to do, I flee to my neighbour’s, where I call the police. I have no idea whether the guy really is the owner’s son, or if he is a burglar making up stories. Either way, I want him out of my home.

The police soon arrive, and I let them into my apartment.

Surprisingly, the man is still there! The police tell him he is under arrest for breaking and entering.

Man: “I didn’t break in. I had the key. My dad owns the building. I can be in here if I want.”

The police weren’t having any of it and arrested him. After everything had been settled, I went back to my neighbour’s, too terrified to go back to my place alone. Even though I knew they had taken him away, I just couldn’t shake that a stranger had let themselves in like that.

It turned out that the man was, indeed, the building owner’s son; however, the building owner had explicitly told the managers not to let him in, let alone give him any keys. However, for whatever reason, the manager had been giving him the keys to various apartments because the son claimed his dad had asked him to perform some maintenance, even though no maintenance or repairs were scheduled.

The “ghost” which had been plaguing the complex was actually the owner’s son letting himself into the apartments. Luckily, as far as I know, nothing had been stolen. He’d just been letting himself in and watching TV, using their showers, eating some of their food, and otherwise just making himself at home while they were out. To this day, I have no idea why.

The manager was immediately fired and a more upstanding one replaced him. Our landlord couldn’t apologise enough. He even offered to reduce our rent for a few months as an apology, even though it wasn’t his fault. The building owner also gave us and the other residents generous financial compensation. As much as I appreciated these gestures, my husband and I found another place to live a few months later because I just couldn’t relax in the apartment anymore and was still terrified to be alone there.

This story is part of our Best Of January 2021 roundup!

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