Thursday, July 14, 2016

Orlando Police investigating break-in at Pulse nightclub

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 2:57 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Orlando Police are investigating a Thursday morning break-in at the gay nightclub Pulse, one day after they turned it over to its owners.

Police say Pulse owners Barbara and Rosario Poma were at the nightclub until around 2 p.m. Wednesday, according to an OPD report. When they left, the building doors were locked, as was the chain-link vehicle gate. They drove past the business again around 9:15 p.m. and did not observe any disturbance. 

But police say around 3 a.m. on Thursday, several employees drove by the business and saw the vehicle gate was open. They went to get a new lock for the gate, and when they returned, they saw the front patio gate facing east was open. This gate allows access to two entry doors for the club, according to the report. 

The employees told police they thought "everything was OK," so they left Pulse and put the new lock on the vehicle gate. The next morning at 9 a.m. when the Pomas and a group of employees came to work at the club, Rosario Poma found an unlocked door. 

"When he pushed on it, the door swung open," the police report says. "Previously this door was secured with a sheet of plywood on the outside. The unknown suspect(s) had forcibly removed this exterior sheet of plywood." 

Officers examined the door and found someone had used a prying tool to force the plywood off of the screws that held it to the door and then broke in. The suspect also tried to pry the plywood off another door. The report says Pulse does have an alarm system and interior cameras, but they were not activated. 

Several parts of the report are redacted. Orlando Weekly reached out to OPD for clarification about these redactions but did not receive an immediate response. Pulse owner Barbara Poma also released a statement regarding the break-in. 

"Since June 12, we have seen the worst and best of human behavior," she says. "We are disappointed that someone felt compelled to violate the privacy of our beloved Pulse nightclub and the sacred place it has now become. We have faith in the Orlando Police Department and its investigation of this break-in. The club will continue to remain closed to the public as we work to plan the future of Pulse."

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