EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 27, 2013

Lawrence police probe reported home invasions

By Mark E. Vogler

---- — LAWRENCE – A grandmother told police that four masked men dressed in black, one of them armed, burst into her apartment at 160 West St. early yesterday and robbed her of about $400 in cash.

The woman said she was in her room watching television shortly before 1 a.m. when she heard a loud bang. When she got up to see what was going on, she was confronted by the four men – one pf whom pointed a gun at her, police Detective Carlos Cueva wrote in his report.

“They forced her back in her room and demanded she give them money and anything else. She then directed the suspects to a sock drawer and told them she had some money in there,” the detective wrote.

The incident was the second reported home invasion in less than three hours. A 56-year-old man who lives in the basement at 263 Jackson St. said he was beaten by three masked men dressed in black, two of them armed with guns, who forced their way into his home at about 10:30 p.m. Friday.

Lawrence police Chief John Romero said investigators don’t know whether the incidents are related. Police don’t have any suspects in the two cases, as the victims said they didn’t recognize their assailants.

“We’re still investigating,” Romero said last night.

In the West Street incident, the grandmother said the intruders took about $400 from the sock drawer. The woman said the men also robbed some cell phones before leaving.

The woman’s 13-year-old grandson told police he was playing a video game when the masked men broke down the front door and entered the apartment. The boy’s mother was also in the house at the time of the incident.

In the Jackson Street incident, the victim told police that he was in bed watching television when somebody knocked on his door. When he opened the door, three men rushed in. Two of them held black handguns and the other one brandished a large knife, Detective Cueva wrote in his report.

“The victim was struck in the head and fell to the floor where they continued to strike him,” the detective wrote.

“They demanded money from the victim who was telling them he did not have money, that he was on disability,” he said.

The intruders went to the other apartment in the basement and forced their way in. The tenant was not home at the time.

“In that room, all the ceiling tiles were moved and pulled out and all his clothes in the closet were pulled out and appeared to be searched through,” Cueva noted in his report.

The man who was beaten said he got up from the floor where he had passed out and ran out the back door screaming for help, he told police.

“At that time the males chased him out the door and again began to assault him. They then ran out the back yard which leads right to Berkeley Street and soon after other people who live in the apartments above his came out to see what was going,” Cueva wrote in his report.

The beaten man was later taken to the hospital to be examined for possible injuries.

Romero said police had suspicions about the intruders’ motives, based on the way the apartments appeared ransacked.

“It appears that these individuals were looking for something,” the chief said, declining to elaborate.