ROSWELL, N.M (KRQE) - Police say a couple of metal thefts are suspected of turning an apartment complex into a danger zone.
The two left gaping holes throughout the complex, big enough for residents and visitors to fall right through.
It happened at the Wilshire Gardens apartment complex in Roswell; a complex that caters to senior residents.
"I just started piecing things together and I told my maintenance man these two people have been working this property for about two months," Wilshire Gardens Manager Melanie Martinez said.
Martinez said what happened Monday was not a fluke.
"I was upset. This is my own little community here and I like my people and they were hurting them," Martinez said.
According to Roswell Police Joel Jolly, 49, and Elizabeth Porter, 32, stole five water grates from the apartment complex Monday morning and left behind five gaping holes.
Martinez said they were an accident waiting to happen.
"Some (residents) have wheelchairs, they have the little scooter chairs. I said they won't be able to utilize the sidewalks for the daily routine," Martinez.
A maintenance worker called police after he noticed two grates missing.
"He goes they have them. They have them in the back of their truck," said Martinez.
Police arrested Jolly and Porter and retrieved two stolen grates from the back of their truck.
They found the other three missing grates at Roswell Recycling Center.
Jolly and Porter and allegedly sold them for cash there earlier that morning.
"It's summer time. People are desperate. It's hot and they're looking for an easy way out to get money," Martinez told KRQE News 13.
She said the grates weren't the only items reported stolen.
"Within the first month they stole my beautiful iron bird bath and antique bird feeder and that was disappointing because I only got to enjoy them for only 3 weeks," said Wilshire Gardens resident Marsha Terry.
She said she's seen her fair share of theft on this property.
"I don't have to have a lot to make me happy, but I'd like to enjoy what I have without worrying about somebody stealing it," Terry said.
All of the grates have been recovered and put back in place, but Martinez said she has to order five new ones because the stolen grates were damaged.
She expects the replacements to cost more than $1,000.
Jolly and Porter are charged with larceny.
The Roswell Recycling Center did not want to comment.
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