HOUSTON (CN) – Wells Fargo Bank created “attractive havens for criminal activity” by not securing vacant apartments in its complex, and a woman was abducted at gunpoint and raped in an empty unit, she and her fiancé claim in court.
Jane and John Doe sued Wells Fargo and its property manager, Devonshire Real Estate and Asset Management, in Harris County Court.
The Does say “a sexual predator and his accomplice, stalked and abducted Ms. Doe at gunpoint while she was walking from her vehicle to her apartment within the complex” on May 20, just 5 days after they had moved into The Mills Apartments, in Houston.
“Both men were either residents of the complex or had gained entrance to the complex through one of the several faulty security gates surrounding the complex,” the complaint states. “Ms. Doe’s abductor then led to her one of the numerous vacant apartments within the complex and sexually assaulted her, forcing her to beg for her life while his accomplice stood watch outside.
“Mr. Doe was frantically searching the complex for his young fiancé during the assault.
“The assailant then forced Ms. Doe to leave the apartment with him at gunpoint. Mr. Doe then stumbled upon Ms. Doe and her abductor as he led her through the apartment complex.
“The assailant then pointed his weapon at Mr. Doe, ordering him back. The assailant then released Ms. Doe, fired his weapon in the air, and fled on foot to an awaiting vehicle with his accomplice.”
Wells Fargo knew about the property’s faulty gates, and that its unsecured apartments were “frequented by non-residents,” the Does say.
“Defendants failed to provide the promised safety measures and crime deterrents such as functioning security gates and security guards, or otherwise provide reasonable safety to its residents. Even worse, defendants allowed hundreds of vacant apartments to remain unsecured, thereby creating attractive havens for criminal activity.”
The Does seek damages for premises liability, negligence and gross negligence.
They are represented by Michael Fleming of Houston.
Banks have faced numerous lawsuits since the financial crises began, including class actions from cities that accuse them of hurting public safety by allowing repossessed or abandoned properties to deteriorate.