Jackson Twp. assault, home invasion victims share stories of survival

Jackson Twp. Police on home invasion

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, OH (WOIO) - Authorities in Jackson Township are looking for a man they believe broke into two separate homes on two separate nights and assaulted an elderly woman during one of the break-ins.

The first incident happened at just before midnight Saturday. The woman who only wanted to be identified only as Robin told Cleveland 19 everyone in her home was asleep, but she was still awake in her kitchen doing some baking.

"I had sat down at the kitchen table with my phone, I heard the door from the garage into the house slowly creak open almost as if a big gust of wind had blown it," said Robin. "I stood up and took a step and paused and called out, 'hello?' and then a man came into the house."

The man was described as a light-skinned African American man, about 6 feet tall, weighing about 250 pounds. Robin said that when he broke into her home he was wearing a mask, and a light colored jacket with dark spots covering his head.

"He had a small knife, what I thought was a knife, in his right hand and had motioned with his finger up to his lips to be quiet when he stepped into the house," said Robin.  "I was frozen to the spot. I screamed and I started yelling for my husband as I watched him. I didn't take my eyes off him he slowly backed into the garage."

Robin said that while talking about it is difficult, she spoke to Cleveland 19 with the hopes that the man will be caught.

"We just want him to be caught. Knowing that he hit someone else the night after me and that it was worse off for her that second night, it scared us even more," said Robin.

The next night in the same neighborhood, a man police have reason to believe was the same suspect broke into another home. This time the man assaulted an 83-year-old woman.

The woman did not want to be identified, but told Cleveland 19 what she went through on Sunday night.

She said she was sleeping in her bed, and "the next thing I know somebody was on top of me."

She said she started screaming and fighting her attacker, and has bruises on her face and up and down her arms from the attack.

"I had pajamas on. He was going to get into my pajama pants back there and about that time I got a breath and said, 'Jesus help me! Jesus!' and within a few minutes he was gone," she said.  She said the only explanation that makes sense to her is that Jesus helped her.

"I feel very fortunate that he went, he left, why he did not…I cannot find that he did, anything else in the house torn open the cupboards looking for money or looking for anything," she said.

She said police cars have increased their patrols in the neighborhood, that all of her neighbors are aware of the assault, and are taking extra security precautions

"There has to be some question why someone would assault an elderly lady like this," said Jackson Township police Chief Mark Brink. "It's tragic. We all have moms, grandmas, it goes to your very core how could somebody do something like this."

Brink said that his office is waiting for evidence to be processed by the state and county labs, and that the investigation is still open.

"This is very rare for us we're a residential community do not see these types of crimes very often," said Brink. "We do have our burglaries, that type of thing, but it's unusual to have someone enter a home, especially a case where the elderly lady was assaulted. That's very unusual for us."

Brink also said he hopes that people in the community take precautions, especially until the suspect is caught.

"Lock your doors, lock your windows at this time. I know this is a great time to have your doors and windows open at night for sleeping but be very careful pay attention to your surroundings," said Brink.

He also said if anyone witnesses anything suspicious to call the police department. He told Cleveland 19 that the department would rather be safe than sorry.

"If someone's cutting through yards that you know do not belong in that neighborhood looking in windows, hanging out, loitering, give us a call," said Brink.  "We want to follow every lead that we can."

Report any suspicious activity to the police department at 330-832-1553 or call 911. You can also leave any anonymous tip at 330-834-3967.

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