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Updated: 6:06 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 | Posted: 4:48 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. —
Authorities are looking for a woman who police said was running an elaborate apartment rental scheme in New Kensington.
According to police, Kim Shaw is accused of posing as a landlord at a Fifth Avenue apartment building and renting out her unit to several people she met on Craigslist.
Investigators said at least six people fell for the scheme, and they’re afraid there could be more victims.
The victims have all paid a security deposit in exchange for separate keys and separate leases for the same apartment, investigators said.
“Everything I have is in boxes. It’s depressing,” one of the victims said.
Jennifer MacNeill and Amanda Bilks are two of the victims who said they each put down a $450 deposit.
“We’ve been crying on and off for a week now about the whole situation,” another victim said.
Elizabeth Kasavage said her niece also signed one of the fake leases.
“She is so angry and upset. She’s depressed and embarrassed,” Kasavage said about her niece falling for the scheme.
Authorities said the scheme fell apart over the weekend when the new tenants all tried to move into the apartment at the same time.
“They were actually putting sheets on the bed because they thought this was their apartment. We walked in and were like, ‘No, this is a scam,’” MacNeill said.
Investigators said Shaw had been renting the apartment since October, and the landlord said she was up-to-date on her rent.
“I think she’s nuts. There’s no reason to do that to anyone, especially around the holidays,” Shaw’s former neighbor Crystal Saxon said.
Police said they plan to file theft by deception charges, and additional charges could be added if more victims come forward.
Authorities said they believe Shaw has left the area. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact police.
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