Kourtney Gelvin never thought she'd be in danger of getting attacked while doing her laundry at the facilities where she lived, but that's exactly what she said happened Sunday night.
"He tried to take my change and then he starting attacking me," Gelvin, a tenant of Columbine Apartments, said Monday. "It caught me off guard because I didn't expect that in Craig."
Police arrested Sean Lee Jackson, 19, soon after a neighbor at the complex called in the alleged mugging incident at 7:14 p.m., said Officer Brian Soper with the Craig Police Department. Police later found the suspect in a vehicle in the 400 block of Stout Street. He was charged with robbery, false reporting to authorities, obstruction of a telephone, menacing, third-degree assault and criminal mischief, Soper said. Of the four people in the vehicle, an 18-year-old was arrested on a restraining order violation. A 16-year-old girl was cited with a minor in possession of alcohol. Soper was unclear where the people in the vehicle lived but said they had been visiting a tenant at the apartments.
Gelvin said she was sitting on a dryer and talking on a cell phone waiting for her laundry to finish at the facilities in the north end of the Columbine Apartments. She had a large jar filled with about $5 to $10 in quarters placed on a washer opposite her. Gelvin said Jackson walked in and went to take the jar until she called out to him to stop, to which he said he was just kidding and not really trying to take the money. A few minutes later, Jackson returned and started hitting her and grabbing at cell phone that she was talking on and succeeded in ripping off the top half, Gelvin said.
Jackson reportedly thought Gelvin was trying to call the authorities, Soper said. He described Jackson as shorter than 6 feet tall and about 150 pounds and said that he didn't possess a weapon.
Gelvin said she fought back by kicking at Jackson with her feet while sitting on the dryer. She said he ran away with the top half of her cell phone but didn't manage to get the quarters.
"I fought back," Gelvin said. "I wasn't going to let him take my stuff."
Gelvin said a neighbor called the incident in to police. Soper said Jackson was given a Breathalyzer test at the police station after he was arrested, but the results didn't show an "essential amount" of the alcohol in his system. Police confiscated some substances from Jackson, and they were sent out for testing, Soper said.
Soper said two witnesses on the scene, one who said he was a cousin of Jackson's, told police that the suspect was leaving the apartments and gave a description of the vehicle he would be riding in.
"He had an opportunity to get out of here," Soper said. "We were lucky enough to catch the right suspect. We didn't know right away."
Soper said the witness accounts helped officers determine that Jackson was the suspect whom police were seeking.
Mel Day, the apartment manager, said he noticed the suspect's car earlier in the day and jotted down the license plate number. That may have helped police make the two arrests, he said.
Day said he requires overnight visitors at the complex to register at the office. He also enforces a zero tolerance drug policy among tenants. Tenants participate in two neighborhood watch programs, he said.
Last year, crimes at the complex were so numerous that officials called it the "drug wars," Day said. Now, Day estimates that as much as 90 percent of crimes reported at the complex are connected with visitors. Tenants have made big strides in helping the complex shed its crime-ridden image, Day said.
"They've done an incredible job," he said. "After they found out we were serious, things really changed."
Tenants immediately started calling in information to Day soon after the incident. That helped get all relevant facts to police to be able to make an arrest, Day said.
Day said the arrested men have orders not to trespass on the apartment's property.
"Neighborhood watch may be a part of it," Day said. "They know they can call for help and not be in a police report for it."