Tuesday, January 5th, 2010
By Shelley Grieshop
Elderly woman assaulted during home invasion
Darke County
  Two men were arrested early today after allegedly duct-taping an elderly woman to a chair and locking her in a closet inside her home Sunday night, north of Greenville.
The 71-year-old woman, who suffered minor injuries during the home invasion robbery, struggled for nearly 14 hours to free herself before walking a quarter-mile in the cold weather to get help about 9 a.m. Monday. The suspects reportedly had cut her phone line.
The woman lived alone in the home at 8135 state Route 121 in Richland Township.
Taken into custody in Dayton this morning by Darke County Sheriff's deputies and Dayton Police were Clarence Blair III, 26, of Akron, and George Simpson, 23, of Dayton. The pair are being held in jail on a charge of receiving stolen property. More serious charges are pending, officials say.
Also arrested was a woman who was with the two suspects at the time of their arrest. Teresa Crawford, 52, also of Akron, is being held on a warrant for a probation violation, a charge unrelated to the home invasion. She also may face charges related to the Sunday night burglary, Darke County Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker added.
Whittaker said the two men entered the elderly woman's home about 7:30 p.m. Sunday, pushed her down and duct-taped her to a chair, then placed her in a closet while they ransacked the home and took thousands of dollars worth of personal property. One of the suspects reportedly brandished a handgun during the incident.
The men allegedly stole a large number of items before fleeing the residence along state Route 121 in the woman's dark blue, four-door 2002 Mercury Grand Marquis.
Whittaker said the woman refused to give up.
"She managed to remove the duct tape and get out of the closet on her own. She worked all night," he said, adding he's not sure how she got out of the locked closet.
Whittaker said deputies worked through the night Monday following leads and processing the scene of the crime. The work paid off as the information led them to the area of Richmond and Five Oaks avenue in Dayton where they located the stolen vehicle and eventually the suspects, he said.
"With the help of Dayton Police, we performed surveillance on the vehicle. At one point we spotted two males and a female get into the car," he said.
Officers subsequently stopped the car and arrested the three. Inside the home at 121 Richmond Ave., where the trio had just exited, deputies and police officers found "a lot of stolen property" believed to be items taken from the elderly woman's home, Whittaker said.
The case will be presented to prosecutors for review and the likelihood of numerous felony charges, Whittaker added.
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