Police are hoping photos of a distinctive car will help solve the brutal robbery of an elderly couple.
The couple didn't want their names used because they are afraid. The woman flinched every time a car drove by as she stood on the porch after dark. She was standing beneath a porch light as she told her story and remarked she kept picturing gunfire coming her way because she felt like a target standing beneath the light.
"I never thought in my life I'd be afraid to be in my own front yard," the woman said. "Every car that drives by I think someone's going to shoot. I never ever thought I would have a feeling like that."
"I can't believe this is happening in my neighborhood," said the 76-year-old, who lives at 11th and Ewing Streets in the Northeast neighborhood. "Forty-six years we've been living here."
She broke into tears at the thought of having to change that, having to give up all the familiarity of the home that become a part of her. The familiarity that once brought comfort now brought reminders of where each violent act occurred.
"I heard a bang," she said of her time on the ground Monday morning, "and I thought they'd killed him."
She and her husband, age 79, were caught off guard by the two armed men. Police said the men got in through the slightly opened garage door at 8:10 a.m. Monday.
Her husband took the first beating. He has two black eyes and a nasty lump on his head to account for it. She was in the next room over, punched in the face when she went for the phone.
Blood was everywhere. Her husband is on blood thinners. A friend offered to clean the carpet, but the woman wanted it taken out. It was an unpleasant reminder.
It was the second attack in nine days.
The first time, the would-be robbers left empty handed. They pushed their way in through the front door when the elderly man answered a knock and gave him a whallup that required 10 stitches. The woman was in the kitchen cutting bread and ran after the attacker with the knife all the way to the sidewalk.
"I don't know what I was thinking," she said in retrospect.
Monday, the attackers got the man's wallet, which allowed police to obtain surveillance pictures which they hope will help solve at least the most recent crime.
An hour after the robbery, two men arrived at a gas station, Midwest Fuels, at 45th and Cleveland. They each used the victim's credit card to fill up their respective vehicles. One was a red Dodge Durango with tinted windows and a luggage rack. The other was a distinctive Chevy Camero, silver in color with a spoiler, black custom wheels, and flames painted on the front and sides.
Catching the men would make the block safer, but it is probably too late to make the victimized couple feel safe.
"You see we have a gorgeous park across the street," she said, gesturing, "But nobody uses it, because they're afraid."
Her youngest daughter, 50, is now house hunting on her behalf, a thought that brought tears anytime it came up in conversation.
"I don't want to move from our house, but if it's going to keep us alive," she said, trailing off.
For now, she and her neighbor have a deal. Before either of them leaves the house to get in the car, one calls the other to watch out the window. It's a level of vigilance that feels wrong to her, but she knows no other way around it.
If you have any information that could help identify or locate the people or vehicles connected, call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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