Lakeview tenants worried about uninvited guest who’s been taking shelter in their doorway for years; “He’s just a very mean person”


CHICAGO (CBS) — An unwanted visitor has been staking claim inside the lobby of a Lakeview apartment building, and residents have begged management to get him out for years, saying their safety is at risk.

The door to the apartment building on West Briar Place is always unlocked, so anyone can make their way inside at all hours.

Now one man is claiming free rent inside the tiny vestibule, and neighbors said they never know when his motivation to seek shelter might turn violent.

Katie Burt wants to feel safe walking into her apartment building late at night, but for two years, she has found an uninvited guest making his own home in her lobby.

“I should feel comfortable in my home,” she said. “It shouldn’t be a question of safety.”

Burt said she finds him smoking cigarettes and setting small fires-inside, but it gets worse.

“He grabbed a hold of my backpack, and I said, ‘Get off,’ and we got into an altercation, and I ended up kicking him in the knee,” she said.

She’s not alone. Amber Lecik said she has been assaulted twice.

“He’s just a very mean person, and once he took my phone and threw it on the ground,” she said. “I’ve called the cops about six times this year.”

Burt said, in one week, she called police three times a day for four of the seven days.

But police said, because there’s public access, they can’t make an arrest; only tell him to leave. Residents said he just comes right back.

There’s no question how he gets in. The front door is unlocked 24/7.

“He was found on the sixth floor,” Burt said. “I just kind of feel like I’ve been violated. He’s been physically on this side of the door.”

Calls to management about the issue either go unanswered or residents are told fixes like an outdoor lock are “out of budget.”

There are also no cameras in the lobby or outside the front door.

“The sign here that says 24-hour security isn’t real. There is no actual recording happening,” Burt said.

And those who live in the building fear what could happen next.

“It’s my own personal safety. It’s my neighbors’ safety. There are two families that have small children in here,” Burt said.

Tenants said they feel for this man, saying they understand someone trying to seek shelter, but they won’t stand for the assaults in their own home.

The property management company has not responded to multiple calls and emails about the issue.

Burt said she now plans to move out.

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