SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Keeping her kids safe is Patrice Thomas’ biggest priority. So when she said she was broken into months after moving into her apartment at Willow Trace in Shreveport, she knew she had to make a change no matter the price.
"Being a mom doesn't stop. It never stops,” said Thomas. “When you're sleeping it doesn't stop because you have to protect your home."
Shortly after moving in she walked outside her apartment to deliver some food to a friend in the parking lot and had no idea once she walked out of her door she would become a target. Her son, Braylen, was alone inside their apartment when someone barged in.
“I was just sitting in the room watching TV and then I heard someone turn the doorknob and run into the room,” said Braylen. “I just freaked out and got scared. I froze."
Thomas said her son walked outside to find his mom moments later and he approached her in disbelief.
“He had this look of astonishment I have never seen before and was (like) he said someone just broke in. He said a guy just came in and stole my purse. I couldn’t believe it."
Thomas moved into the complex in March. The incident happened in May. Days later she was targeted again by someone trying to break into her home, claiming they were police. She said she never felt comfortable after that and decided to leave.
“I never knew what that person would do," said Thomas.
Thomas called police both times, documenting everything that was stolen in a police report.
“He took everything. Pictures of my grandmother, blood pressure medicine, social security cards, insurance cards. It was hard to replace," said Thomas.
Thomas said she knew then that finding a safer place to stay was a priority for her family even if it meant paying more in rent. She said she was already scrapping by but safety came first.
“It’s been a big difference in pay. Everything’s gone up. Almost a $500 increase. There’s a lot of things we wanted to do during the summer. We’ve had to go without a lot including air in the car. These are things we just had to sacrifice. I tell them just to bear with me. Things will get better," said Thomas.
Thomas said she had to break her lease to move and told the apartment manager she feared for her safety. She was charged three times her monthly rent for leaving. We reached out to the Willow Trace apartment complex for comment and our calls were not returned.
Thomas said she did not know much about the complex when she moved in. It’s a reminder to do your research. A simple Google search could give renters insight into what other tenants have gone through at different properties.