A 79-year-old woman residing at the Coquina Key Arms Apartments, a 1,006 unit complex, had played bridge at the clubhouse in the evening. and later returned to her apartment , locked her door and turned in for the night.
At about 4 AM, she awakened to see a man wearing a uniform crawling towards her, holding a small flashlight. The intruder told her that someone had sent him and then jumped on her. She struggled with him but he punched her in the mouth and knocked out a crown. After he gained control he raped her. Apparently in shock, she did not call the police or anyone else. About an hour later, the man returned and raped her again.
The St. Petersburg police conducted an investigation and did find evidence of forcible entry. They were able to secure DNA evidence from the scene and later, were able to match the DNA to Patrick Cordell Jones.
It turns out that Jones is a 32-year-old security guard employed by Coquina Key Arms. As such, Jones had access to master keys of the Apartment complex. Court records reveal that Jones has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 1983 for robbery, arson and battery. More recently, Jones was charged by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department with kidnapping and armed sexual battery. The charges were later dropped. Despite his atrocious criminal record he was hired by Coquina Key Arms to protect the residents.
A detective with the police department does not believe Coquina Key Arms did a background check before they hired Jones as a Security Officer.
This incident is a glaring example of negligent employee screening. It should be a lesson to employers responsible for a high level of care, to protect their customers, residents, clients and fellow employees by conducting a searching background investigation on all potential employees.