Resident satisfied with settlement after being robbed at gunpoint

(WSVN) - Three women: one robbed at gunpoint, one bullied by a neighbor and another whose pet was left paralyzed, all called Howard for help. All of them are now thankful that they did. An update in tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

When Mercedes looked at these rentals in Pembroke Pines, the word “like” kept coming to mind.

Mercedes Marcano, robbed at gunpoint: “I like the area, I like the entrance, but most of all, I like the rent.”

Mercedes noticed the guard house was empty and the gate was not working the day she toured the complex, but she thought it was going to be fixed. Then after she moved in, she went from liking to loathing the place.

Mercedes Marcano: “The man came in the front seat and he put a gun at my head. Somebody else came through the back also. He also had a gun.”

The gunmen stole Mercedes’ car, her purse and computer — then she found out similar crooks had robbed another resident in the same parking lot.

Mercedes Marcano: “It was very scary.”

After we got involved, we discovered the guard shack was used for storage. The gate had not worked in years and over the past two years, 37 crimes had been committed here. Mercedes wanted out of her new lease and attorney Janelle Vega stepped in.

Janelle Vega, The Verdecia Law Firm: “We were able to obtain a very favorable result for our client. I’m not at liberty to discuss the exact dollar amount we were able to settle for. However, she is very happy with the result.”

Mercedes Marcano: “I am doing OK now, since I saw you last. I had to move in with my daughter.”

Mercedes is thankful to be out of the complex and thankful for one more thing. After her lawyer got involved, her former neighbors got a little help as well.

Mercedes Marcano: “I am happy the gates got fixed and some people gonna be safe now. Safer than they were before.”

Barbi Jean Morgano, frightened by neighbor: “It’s very frightening.”

Barbi felt in danger at her complex as well.

Barbi Morgano: “I have a very violent, intoxicated neighbor in the unit directly across the hall from me.”

Barbi had to call the police seven different times on the man, and he didn’t like it.

Barbi Morgano: “He got in my face and started screaming and cursing at me.”

Barbi asked the property manager to either let her out of her lease or throw the neighbor out. Her efforts were ignored.

Barbi Morgano: “It was a horrible situation.”

David Strauss stepped in and used a legal maneuver to not only get Barbi out of her lease, but got her security deposit back as well.

David Strauss, The Strauss Law Firm: “That she was terminating her lease due to constructive eviction. Constructive eviction meaning she wasn’t actually evicted, but under the facts and circumstances, she might have well been evicted because she had no choice but to leave.”

Barbi Morgano: “David Strauss did help me. He was great.”

Needless to say, Barbi is happy she refused to give up when the property manager wouldn’t let her out of the lease.

Barbi Morgano: “To stand up for yourself, absolutely because most of the time nobody is going to do it for you. Many people said it wouldn’t work, but clearly we all know this had a happy ending. I am doing great, and happy holidays.”

One more thing…

Lisa Sipes, dog hit by truck: “Bart was limp in the back.”

Remember Bart, who was accidentally hit by a UPS truck driver?

Lisa Sipes: “Bart only has a five to 10 percent chance of being able to walk again.”

But Bart is doing fine without four legs.

Lisa Sipes: “He still can’t walk but he is happy and he is healthy and he is strong. He has a wheelchair now.”

Bart now scoots around in his wheelchair, thanks to South Floridians who donated to help pay his vet bills.

Lisa Sipes: “The Channel 7 viewers been great and supportive. It’s been unbelievable how much support and love we have gotten.”

Glad we could help and find people to help as well. There are a lot of great people in South Florida happy to step in with their skills and their wallets.


Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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