Contact 2: Courthouse confrontation with woman accused of missing rent, damaging rental property

BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Moments before Dene Shaeffer ran from Fox 2’s Mike Colombo, she said she was innocent.

In court documents, Shaeffer’s former landlord, Mikol Rosenbalm, accused her of failing to pay thousands of dollars in rent and additional costly property damage.

“My oven had been taken apart and the heating element removed. She’d stolen door knobs. The thermostat. The doorbell. You could tell people had urinated on the walls,” said Rosenbalm.

Rosenbalm and Shaeffer have become embroiled in what’s become a long legal battle. Our investigation found court records confirming Shaeffer was evicted from homes in Minnesota, Missouri, and Illinois. We also found several theft charges against her.

“She’s cost a lot of hard-working homeowners who are landlords a lot of money,” Rosenbalm said.

That’s what we wanted to ask Shaeffer about when we confronted her at the St. Clair County Courthouse where she was appearing on a theft charge.

When confronted with the Rosenbalm’s accusations, Shaeffer said her landlord was “crazy.”

“That lady texts my family and everything,” Shaeffer said. “She cut my utilities off when they weren’t supposed to be cut off. No, that’s not true.”

Shaeffer was told the utilities were switched off because she hadn’t paid rent and had damaged the apartment.

“Nuh-uh,” Shaeffer said. “Let me show you the text messages.”

Rosenbalm also said Shaeffer used numerous aliases; a charge she denies.

Shaeffer said she was going to get her attorney and walked off. She returned alone and took off down the steps.

Our news crew followed her, asking if Shaeffer had anything to say to Rosenbalm. We asked if Shaeffer intended to fix any of the damages or pay Rosenbalm back for any of the damages Rosenbalm said Shaeffer caused.

Shaeffer left the courthouse but called moments later. She continued to deny damaging the home but admitted to using aliases in the past.

“The sad part of all this is I will never see a dime from her. Never,” Rosenbalm said.

Nevertheless, Rosenbalm’s complaint seeks to recover money related to this case, a matter complicated by Shaeffer’s bankruptcy filing. The parties are scheduled to return to court in January.

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