Apartment complex reacts to handyman arrest

Jose Diaz mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Jose Diaz mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Morgan Thomas - email

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - There was no background check done on the man police say tried to sexually assault a resident of Acadia Apartments.

Property manager Carrie Strickland is part of the complex's new ownership that took over about a month ago. She said they only had one maintenance worker before hiring Jose Diaz.

"Because we were having so many maintenance complaints come in, it was so much so he asked the owners and me if we need somebody else," Strickland said. "We need somebody else."

Around Christmas, Diaz came on board as a part-time temp to help out.

The owner says they didn't check him since he was only contracted for ten days. Yet, he has a felony drug conviction on his record.

Now, he's behind bars, again.

"After that I began to get reports," Strickland said. "Several reports from several people of different things allegedly against Mr. Diaz."

Resident Danny Faver understands why some potential victims waited to come forward.

"Because he worked for the place, afraid he would come back on them, maybe they were scared of him, maybe they were afraid no one would believe them," Faver said.

The apartment's new owners and manager are updating the complex's security. They're offering to change out residents' locks and they're planning to install 24-hour video surveillance.

I.D. badges will now be worn by employees so residents can identify who's supposed to be there.

"The badge thing would be great because you get people knocking on your door all the time," Faver said.

Resident Larry Bernal believes management is on the right track, but has advice for folks living alone.

"Make sure that if they're going to be there have somebody, a brother, cousin, father-in-law, whoever, to stay there with them to be on the safe side," Bernal said.

As far as Diaz is concerned, Strickland says he's not allowed on the property, asking residents to call police if they see him.

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