Possible source of Walmart bedbugs determined

Pests may have come from employee's apartment

POSTED: 11:43 PM MDT Oct 11, 2012 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

A woman who works at a Colorado Springs Walmart where bedbugs were found last weekend believes she knows where they came from.

The employee, who requested anonymity, said the pests may have come from her apartment unit.  She lives at the San Miguel East apartments on San Miguel Street near Academy Boulevard, and said she hasn't informed Walmart of the possible connection for fear being fired.

What's in dispute, however, is how the bedbugs got into her unit.  She said the pests were already in the apartment building and were discovered in her unit last week.  Her friend and former neighbor, who also wants to remain anonymous, said she refused to pay the apartment owner $200 to have the unit sprayed.

"She didn't want him to personally come in and do that, as he wasn't qualified to do that," said the employee's friend.  "She wanted a professional to come in and do it.  She wanted to know that products he'd be using would be safe for her pets.  He gave her less than a 24-hour notice to prepare."

Scott Schwartz, the apartment owner, said he believes the employee brought the bedbugs in from elsewhere, possibly another job.  He said he keeps his building clean and that only her apartment has bedbugs. 

Schwartz declined an interview, but gave KRDO NewsChannel 13 a tour of the building without our camera.  He said he first became aware of the bedbugs when a resident reported seeing bites on the employee's arms.

Schwartz said he's in the process of evicting the employee because she refused to pay the extermination fee, and violated her lease by failing to keep her unit clean.  He also said he has sprayed around her unit to keep the pests from spreading, and will clean her unit once she has moved out.

Meanwhile, the employee remains worried about the situation, even though the Walmart near Powers and Palmer Park Boulevards got rid of its bedbugs.

"She doesn't know for sure that it was her," said the employee's friend.  "But she's quite paranoid that it probably was her, since she had them in her apartment."