Woman held at gunpoint in robbery attempt
By Patrick Yost
A Rutledge couple coming home from work walked in on four men, at least two with a pistol, attempting to rob their home last Saturday.
And while the men fled, Capt. Chris Bish, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Division, said, “it could have been worse.”
“They (the intruders) were surprised,” Bish said. “I'm very grateful it did not escalate.”
According to Morgan County Sheriff’s Office reports, the 59-year-old man and his 61-year-old wife, both employees at Park N Shop convenience store in Rutledge, came home at approximately 11:40 p.m. after closing the store. Reports state that the wife entered the house on Newborn Road, approximately a half-mile from the store, and noticed that a bed in the main bedroom was out of place. At that time, reports state, a black male came from a bedroom across the hall, pointed a pistol at her and demanded money. The woman said while the man continued to scream at her and hold her at gunpoint, she attempted to flee, but the man pushed her down. The woman said she got up and fled the residence, noticing another black man wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt leave the residence through a window in another room.
The husband said when he entered the residence – following his wife’s entry – a black male wearing a white, Polo-type shirt and a Halloween monster mask ran past him, stopped and demanded money. The husband said he was unloading groceries when the wife entered the residence and he heard voices but thought it was coming from a television set.
Both the man and woman told authorities that the two black males left the residence on foot, running north from the residence, and another pair of black males left the residence on foot, running south from the residence.
Deputies converged on the area within three minutes of receiving the call, reports state, but did not locate any suspects.
Bish said that neighbors reported observing an older model, large sedan parked near the residence earlier in the evening. Officers located and seized a cigarette lighter and cigarette from the area where the car was observed.
Bish said entry into the residence was gained by removing an external air conditioning unit from the house. He also said he believes the perpetrators were familiar with the victims.
"They would have known the victims were not there," Bish said. "They were familiar with the victims and their habits."
He also said nothing was taken from the house, the husband or the wife and, fortunately, no injuries were sustained.
"They could have been pistol-whipped, shot or taken hostage," Bish said. "Thank God, they weren't."
He also said that local authorities have started developing leads in the armed robbery attempt – "We've got some decent leads," Bish said – and continue to seek information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators.
Bish warned residents to remain vigilant, especially during the holiday season when the "potential for crime increases." Annually, he said, the Morgan County Sheriff's Office increases patrol this time of year "to increase our presence for a visibility standpoint that hopefully will curtail some of this."
Printed in the December 13, 2012 edition