CLEARWATER, Florida- Eric Coffey says it started with a knock on his front door.
"The assistant property manager asked if we had paid our rent and I said of course we paid our rent, we put it in the drop box."
The problem is, management at his Royal Breeze Apartment complex told him Thursday the rent was never received.
"He said 'we need you to come down and pay the rest of the money because it was compromised, otherwise you could face eviction'," Eric explained.
Coffey said he has since found out other residents also have missing checks, all put into the same front office drop box.
"I was distraught, upset, and then having to call my wife and explain that to her was not a pleasant conversation," said Coffey.
Clearwater Police say they're investigating numerous complaints, including some at two other apartment communities, but could not yet confirm an exact number of victims. Residents told 10 News there may be as many as 30 to 40 residents affected.
"People just don't have an extra 5, 6, 7, 800 dollars to pay someone for their mistake. It was on their property. It's their liability," said a clearly stressed out Coffey.
10 News stopped by the Royal Breeze front office Friday evening hoping to find out some answers about what happened to the money orders and checks and what residents could expect next.
Front office staff ran back inside and locked the door, apparently unwilling to discuss the situation on camera.
"That's none of your business," yelled an unidentified employee.
Coffey said records show his money order was cashed. Now he's working to find out by who, but has been told it could take up to 100 days for the transaction to be traced.
Ownership for the apartment complex told 10 News over the telephone that while residents are technically responsible for any lost checks deposited overnight, they will waive any late charges if the resident can prove a check or money order was made out to the apartment complex and then fraudulently cashed.
Coffey has this advice for other renters: "Go in and pay it inside. Do not put it in the drop box."
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