Report: Renter vandalizes unit, steals fridge; Update: Tenant disputes

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JONESBORO, Ark. – The description by the complainant and police observations literally paint a clear example of a landlord’s worst nightmare – but in an update to the original story, the renter is disputing she did anything wrong. 

The incident was reported to Jonesboro police Tuesday, April 4, at the 2400-block of Westacre Drive. There, a woman – Donna K. Hohn, 56, of Weiner, said she had power of attorney over her aging and ill mother, who owned the rental property. Hohn met with JPD Officer Gary Jackson and explained what the situation was.

The home had been rented to Shemika L. Brown, 34, of Jonesboro, for between four and five months. The complainant said Brown only paid rent for two of those months – but Brown said she paid rent every month. On the weekend of March 24, Brown moved out and according to the complainant, requested her deposit back.  The complainant refused to return the deposit and apparently made it clear to the renter

When Hohn arrived on Tuesday, she found the rental unit had been vandalized and the refrigerator was missing.

“There was no forced entry into the residence and I observed several signs of vandalism,” Jackson reported. “(The complainant) advised that the home had been totally repainted, that new blinds had been installed and that new flooring had been put in just before Shemika rented the property.”

The officer noted considerable damage, ranging in the felonious amount. Tile flooring was ripped in the living room and in the bedrooms. A can of opened paint was lying on its side with paint poured out onto the floor in the laundry room area. Spots of paint were on the kitchen floor. The officer observed blinds in the living room and bedrooms were broken and in some spots, completely missing from the windows. Walls had markings on them.

Detective Keri Varner made contact with Brown via telephone Wednesday and tried to get her to come in to speak about the case. However, Brown said she could not come in until possibly next week, saying she didn’t live in town anymore.

“She kept wanting to know what was going on and I told her we needed to talk about some damage to the property and some items missing,” Varner reported. “She stated that when she moved out, that there was no damage to anything in the house and that someone else would be responsible for that, if there was any.”

Brown also claimed the fridge in the home was messing up, so she had went and rented her own. Hohn said the Sears-purchased fridge was just a few months old when the home was rented. Varner reported the renter said she would get in touch with her old landlord and would “possibly be here next week.”

“Then she wanted to know if there was a warrant for her at this time,” Varner noted.

Police continued the investigation into Thursday, April 6.


UPDATE (4/6, 5 p.m.)

On Thursday afternoon, Shemika Brown reached out to NEA Report via Facebook and requested we update the story with her side. She also asked we correct her name, which was mistakenly “Holliman” in the police report, she said.

“I never missed rent and remodeled that house on my own out of my pocket,” Brown posted. “I was supposed to be renting to own.”

NEA Report requested the police report from JPD, who sent it to us. We have updated the above story with several details in red.

We are also electing to post the entire JPD incident report police narrative, as the case is now closed. Below is Detective Varner’s entire narrative for the investigation.

“On 4/5/17, I was assigned this case for review. I contacted Shemika Holliman via telephone to attempt to get her to come in and speak with me about this case. She stated that the she could not come in until possibly next week and that she didn’t live in town any more.

She kept wanting to know what was going on and I told her that we needed to talk about some damage to the property and some items missing. She stated that when she moved out that there was no damage to any thing in the house and that someone else would be responsible for that if there was any. I asked about the refrigerator and she stated that when she moved in that the refrigerator that was in there was messing up and that she went and rented her own.

I told her that I needed her to come and speak with me about this case and she stated that she would try to get in touch with her old landlord and would possibly be here next week. Then she wanted to know if there was a warrant for at this time.

On 4/6/17, I spoke with Donna Hohn regarding this case. She stated that the house was remodeled after the flood by her mother, Betty. She stated that a guy named Chris was helping Betty and has since been arrested because he was taking advantage and taking money from Betty. She went on to say that the house wasted renovated when she first looked at it and that her and Ms. Betty split alot of the cost on fixing the residence due to it was going to be a rent to own.

I then spoke with Shemika again and she came to my office to speak with me regarding this case. She stated in November 2016 she was working with Ms. Betty and this house was a rent to own house that she and Ms. Betty had worked out. She stated that she and Ms. Betty had went and bought cabinets for the house and split the cost. She had back records showing the purchase at Surplus Warehouse in the amount of 775.19. She went on to say that she and Ms. Betty had bought things at Lowes and other places as well. She continued with that there was an electrical problem in the house and after several attempts to fix it, Ms. Betty had another person come to look at it and found that it was going to be a major overhaul to do and that Ms. Betty could not afford to have that done. She advised that they did not even use the upstairs of the residence. She went on to talk about a Steve that had done some work there and that Chris had done the painting.

Holliman also stated that when Ms. Betty’s daughter, Tammy, came in the picture that Tammy changed the lease to rent only. She stated that Ms. Betty told her not to deal with Tammy and that Tammy was just trying to put Ms. Betty in a home but Ms. Betty stated that she was in her right mind and knew what she was doing. Supposedly telling Shemika not to do any dealings with Tammy. She did state that at one point Tammy was at the house when Ms. Betty and Chris was there and that Tammy and Chris got into a physical altercation. She also stated that there was as theft at the residence in which her purse, her id and other items were stolen including her TV’s. Holliman stated that Chris had done this and even that Tammy was the one that gave her back her purse and her id and other items.

Shemika stated that the last time she saw Ms. Betty was when she was with Chris and Shemika paid the rent. After that she learned that she was in St. Bernards Village. She stated that she even talked to her another day when Ms. Betty was out at an appointment. She went on to talk about all the repairs that the house had to have after the flood, which was consistent to what the complainant had stated.

When asked about the rip in the rug she did admit that she done that when she moved her couch. She still denies that there was refrigerator in the house and that Chris had removed from the residence. She stated that Ms. Betty went with her one day to one of the rental places to get new appliances.

After hearing both stories and not being able to contact Ms. Betty due to her mental status at this time, I believe this to be a civil matter case. I will not be pursuing charges at this time on Holliman.

Case Closed
Det. Keri A. Varner


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