Five violent home-invasion robberies occurring in Salt Lake City during the past few weeks may be related to each other, police say.
In each case, one to three men have broken into homes and confronted residents and stolen cash or other valuables. In some of the break-ins, the assailants have kicked or hit homeowners, tied them with cord and threatened to kill them."Initially, we didn't think they were connected, but some of them may be. The detectives assigned to each case are working together to look at the patterns and similarities," said Salt Lake Police Sgt. Chris Larsen.
Details of the crimes and how they may be linked:
- March 14 - About 1 p.m., three teenagers knocked on and then kicked in the front door in the 300 North block of Redwood Road.
The trio demanded money and jewelry from a female resident, hit her face and grabbed her neck. Before leaving empty-handed, they ransacked the apartment, destroying furniture. All three assailants are described as 14 to 16 years old and wore baggy blue or black clothing.
- April 11 - 1:30 a.m., three teenagers knocked on and then kicked in the front door of an apartment on 200 West near 600 North. They all brandished black handguns, wore black ski masks and dark baggy clothing.
The trio dumped contents of drawers on the floor, pulled items from closets, cupboards and the refrigerator and freezer and turned over furniture. Before leaving with gold rings and cash, one of the suspects put a gun to the head of a female resident, grabbed her by the hair and dragged her into a bedroom.
One of the teens was described as being tall with blonde hair and a beginning mustache.
- April 17 - 4:30 a.m., a teenager described as tall, about 16 years old with a southern accent, broke through a bedroom window in an apartment near 400 North and Oakley Street.
The suspect held a black handgun and told two girls in bed, "You scream, I'll kill you." He talked to the girls for about 15 minutes, swearing at them and repeating his murderous threats. The man eventually left the bedroom, ran up a flight of stairs and left without taking anything.
The burglar apparently planned the break-in, loosening a fluorescent light that illuminated the window area and using a wastebasket from the home's garage to reach the window screen.
- April 18 - 10:45 p.m., a man in a black ski mask with a black handgun grabbed a woman as she stepped outside to get her cat on the 1800 East block of Michigan Avenue.
After forcing the woman back into her home, the thief rummaged through her purse and pocketed $15 and two credit cards. He then demanded the credit card's secret code numbers - telling the resident he had killed a woman in California for giving him a bogus number.
The man, described as having a thin build and an Asian accent, then reportedly tied the woman's hands with a phone cord and stuck a piece of grey duct tape over her mouth before leaving through the back door.
The homeowner called police moments later after wiggling free of the cord.
- April 18 - 11:30 p.m., a man sneaked up behind a woman, who was 81/2 months pregnant, in her bathroom and knocked her to the floor of her apartment located in the 200 South block on 300 East.
The man, who could not be specifically described by the victim, stole $500 in cash and fled the apartment.
Other than the statements and recollections of the victims, police have little to lead them to the suspects in each case. Officers dusted several areas at each crime scene for fingerprints but found none.