3:02 PM EDT, July 25, 2012
Elkhart police are investigating two scary home invasions that happened in the past two days and looking into the possibility that the two may be connected. Both victims said the men broke in through un-locked windows, both reported money and cell phones stolen and both said the intruders made similar, terrifying threats.
The first happened around 2 a.m. Monday on Goshen Ave.
“I was thinking, ‘Oh please don’t touch me or attack me,’” recounted Janet Griffith.
The 72-year-old silently willed the two men standing over her, shining ‘a bright light’ into her face not to hurt her and wondered if it was all a dream.
“They wanted to know if anybody was here and I said ‘no,’ and [one of them] said, ‘If you're lying to me I'm gonna blow your head off,’” she recalled.
The men stole her car keys, wallet and cell phone and also cut one of the phone cords, Griffith said. She estimated the encounter lasted about 15 minutes, but said it felt like they were inside her bedroom for hours.
Almost exactly 48 hours later, just before 2 a.m. Wednesday, police responded to a home in the 300 blk of Jackson Blvd. for another reported home invasion.
The father of the two sisters who live in that home with their 3 and 6-year-old sons said three masked men entered the home through an unlocked downstairs window, tied up one of the women, pointed a gun at her and her 6-year-old and threatened to shoot both of them if they didn’t cooperate.
“The only physical injuries were to one daughter's wrists where they tied her up, but I know there's some [emotional] injuries that have happened and that really makes me sad and also makes me angry,” said the girls’ father, Tim Cataldo. "They need to experience the consequences and seriousness of what they've done but I just wish somehow a message could get out there to young guys in the community that this is not a way to live. This is a dead end."
Police said four Elkhart teenagers, ages 15 – 19, stole electronics, a cell phone and a purse from the home.
A few hours later on Wednesday morning, Griffith said detectives called her saying they had new evidence from a similar robbery that had just occurred.
“They brought some keys, a bunch of keys, and asked if any of them were familiar. And I recognized my back door key and another key to the Disabled American Veterans Club, which I belong to,” she said.
She’s hoping the four teens, preliminarily charged with robbery with a firearm – a class B felony – are also responsible for breaking into her home and terrorizing her in the middle of the night.
Arrested were a 15-year-old, a 16-year-old, 19-year-old Jayzahn A. Creel and 19-year-old Earl E. Hogan. All are from Elkhart.
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