Valet Charged in Break-In at Nurse's Apartment

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 2, 2005

A parking valet copied the house key of a female patron and used it to break into her Northwest Washington apartment -- where he was caught hiding under a bed with a bag containing condoms, a power cord and gloves, authorities said.

Police said the man might have been hiding inside the apartment for two days before he was discovered Sunday. Investigators said they later found a video camera -- aimed at the bed -- near a computer in the bedroom.

The drama unfolded shortly after 7 a.m. Sunday, when a male friend of the woman's noticed something move on the floor. He looked under the bed and found the intruder, police said. Then he beat the man with a flashlight and subdued him until police arrived; the woman and her friend, 34, were not hurt.

Authorities said the incident is a reminder that people should not turn over house keys to parking valets or attendants.

Carlo Castellanos-Feria, 32, of Hyattsville was arrested on burglary charges and is being held without bond pending a hearing Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court. His arrest was first reported by WTTG-TV (Channel 5).

Police said in reports and court papers that Castellanos-Feria was a valet at the woman's workplace, Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, where he often parked her car.

The woman, a 35-year-old nurse whom police declined to identify because they consider her a witness, told investigators that she often turned over her entire key ring, which contained her apartment key, to the valet. She told authorities that Castellanos-Feria must have copied the key, police said.

The woman also said the valet had been stalking her for months and showed up at her church, police said.

It is not clear when Castellanos-Feria is alleged to have entered the woman's apartment, in the 3300 block of 16th Street NW, but police wrote in a report that the woman noticed her bed move last Friday. She told investigators that Castellanos-Feria might have been hiding there since then, reports show.

In the bag under the bed, police also discovered a videotape. A tape in the recorder and the one in the bag both showed Castellanos-Feria setting up the device and then hiding under the bed, police said.

The woman told police that she had recently filed a complaint against Castellanos-Feria at Holy Cross.

Officials at the hospital said the valet worked for a subcontractor. They said the woman notified them last week that the valet had been harassing her, and he was removed from his job.

Roseanne Pajka, a senior vice president at the hospital, said officials had not received other complaints about Castellanos-Feria. She said the nurse told hospital officials about the break-in Monday, and they alerted employees.

The hospital passed out safety tips to employees and urged them to stop giving entire key rings to valets and to remove papers that contain home addresses from their vehicles.

"We all feel for her situation, as anyone would," Pajka said. "It's a very scary situation. We acted immediately to protect our employees."

© 2005 The Washington Post Company