Family Faces Homelessness after Duped out of Money, Apartment

Updated: 07/21/2014 4:06 PM
Created: 07/20/2014 9:00 PM
By: Beth McDonough

It's been an especially tough year for one east metro family.

Patricia Connelly's family nearly became homeless and had been living in a hotel for months. Then, they found and paid for a place to live on Westminster Street in St. Paul. 

However, on move-in day they realized they had been duped.

"I didn't know where my family is going to go," Connelly said. "The money is gone."

Now, she doesn't know where the three of them -- her daughter and grandson -- are going to live.

"There is no home," she said. "We don't know what's going to happen now; that's the hardest thing."

They've been living out of a hotel room in Roseville for months. While staying there, they've met others who have fallen on hard times. 

Then they came across someone who claimed he had a way out for the struggling family.

"He said, 'I'm working for Shelter Corporation doing turnovers; I have a two-bedroom apartment available,'" Rebecca Stokke, Connelly's daughter, said.

Connelly says the man showed her around the Westminster complex and even had keys to get inside the secure buildings and an apartment on the third floor.

"I did everything you're supposed to do," Connelly said. "I saw it, I got keys, I got a receipt, I signed a lease, and I had all that in my hand."

Then moving day came. 

Connelly said the keys didn't work and she couldn't get into the apartment. She called police and told them she'd been tricked, and she believes it's happened to others, too. 

St. Paul and Roseville police are investigating the incident.

As for the Connelly family, they have just enough money to live in the hotel until the end of the week; they don't know what's next after that.

We reached out to Shelter Corporation and Common Bond, which actually runs the property. 

Officers have a good idea who they're looking for. The suspect's name has not been released because there have been no arrests yet.

A fund has been set up to help the family at Guarantee Bank in Roseville. People can make a donation by visiting the bank at 1201 Larpenteur Avenue West and specifying that the donation is for Patricia Connelly.

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