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Landlord abandoned by tenant, burglarized

BATON ROUGE - A landlord says her tenant decided to stop paying bills and abandoned the property late last year. Then, this week someone broke in and took everything.

"They took everything, they took everything they wanted," said Linda Grace.

The story has changed slightly since 2 On Your Side first met Grace on April 12, 2018. She called WBRZ after finding that her tenant had locked the door and left everything as it was. Grace was working to clear out the items that remained to make way for a new tenant.

Thursday she found someone had come back, even after she changed the locks. Whoever it was didn't have a key and jimmied their way inside. Grace said her husband went to open the door and noticed it was stuck and difficult to open. Once inside, all the electronics, desks, chairs, and paperwork left behind by the tenant were missing.

"Ninety-eight percent of the furniture was gone," she said.

A group called the Louisiana Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health was leasing the building. When Grace entered the office space Thursday, she says a sign once mounted on the wall at the entrance had been ripped down and the one outside the door was gone too.

Grace thinks whoever was there, did it sometime between Monday and Wednesday, since two neighboring tenants both say they saw someone around the building during that time. One neighboring tenant says they saw someone moving items out of the unit.

She has suspicions and thinks it might be the work of a previous tenant because whoever did it knew the code to turn off the alarm. The alarm was armed when her husband opened the door Thursday morning.

"These people knew the code so they could turn it off and then turn it back on," said Grace.

The previous tenant owes Grace about $10,000. She says the items in the unit had been abandoned for six months. Just when she was getting ready to donate the remaining items and clean the place, someone broke in and entered her building.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Hospitals says Louisiana Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health was a provider that had a contract with the Department of Health to provide services. The Department of Health says it's officially terminated its contract with the tenant that was renting from Grace. The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office says it's investigating this incident.

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