More than a day after ringing in the new year, Christian Wolf’s ears were still ringing.
The Heights resident said the alarm at Regions Bank, located across from his home on Rutland Street, began sounding at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and did not stop until about 10 a.m. Wednesday. The commotion caused a mostly sleepless night for Wolf, his wife and their two children, ages 8 and 11.
“It’s louder than a car alarm would be,” Wolf said. “There’s a flashing strobe light and the alarm sounding all the time.”
Chris Gallegos, the branch manager for the location at 301 W. 11th St., said the prolonged alarm event was the product of a power outage that lasted from Monday until Wednesday. He deferred further comment to Regions Bank’s corporate office in Alabama, which contradicted his account.
Company spokesperson Evelyn Mitchell said the alarm was set off, and unable to be turned off, because of an ongoing technical malfunction.
“It has been intermittently sounding over the past few days and weeks,” Mitchell said Friday. “We have addressed that. We were able to get a technician out there (Thursday), and we think that’s been resolved.”
Mitchell said the bank is notified when an alarm sounds, and the alarms are designed to automatically turn off after a period of time. In two previous instances at the Heights location – including the attempted theft of an ATM machine in September, which prompted an overnight response from the Houston Police Department – Wolf said the alarm stopped after about an hour.
Wolf said his wife called HPD about the sounding alarm around 9 p.m. Tuesday. He said his family did not notice a police presence at the bank until Wednesday morning.
As of Friday afternoon, an HPD spokesperson had not responded to a request for information about the incident submitted Wednesday.
“The funny thing was it was dark, and the police didn’t show up,” Wolf said. “I would think police would come.”
Mitchell said Regions employees “work very closely with local law enforcement on security matters,” but declined to elaborate. When asked whether local authorities have the capability to turn off alarms at bank locations, she declined comment.
The experience left Wolf wondering about the bank’s protocol for responding to alarms. He said his questions to branch employees were unanswered.
“We always seek to be a good neighbor in the communities where we operate and we understand that the alarm was disruptive to nearby residents and a cause for concern,” Mitchell said. “We sincerely apologize for the difficulties the alarm malfunction caused and the extended timeframe to resolve it, particularly over the holidays.”