Police say a South Bend woman's cool, quick thinking alerted police to a home invasion that ended with two arrests.
Three men forced their way into 856 Forest Avenue Tuesday night, around 6:30 p.m., and one of the invaders held a couple and their child at gunpoint while the other two ransacked the residence. At one point the gunman threatened to shoot the father of the family.
The man's wife was able to get to a telephone, secretly dial 911 and leave the line open, and a dispatcher sent officers to the address to investigate.
Their arrival prompted the invaders to flee out the back door with electronic equipment and money, but police say they arrested two 17-year-olds after searching the neighborhood. A third suspect, an 18 year old was able to get away.
Wednesday, a similar incident occurred at 829 S. 34th Street just after 7 p.m. Three men entered the home, believing no one was home. Police say one of the men was armed.
The 13-year-old son of the woman that lived in the home was down the street shoveling snow. The woman was upstairs but came down when she heard the door open, assuming it was her son coming home.
The men told the woman to stay in a bedroom while they robbed the home, but the 13 year old saw the men from the street and called police. Officers arrived and were able to arrest all three suspects.
Officers say the majority of the property the suspects were trying to steal, in both instances, was recovered.
The question is, are these two cases related? There are similarities in the two cases. Both appear to be random home invasions. Both, involved teenage suspects. However, Captain Phil Trent with the South Bend Police says even though they are alike in some details, he still believes their unrelated. The reason being, all three men involved with the invasion on Forest Avenue had some sort of connection to Chicago, whereas the men from the S. 34th Street invasion all listed local addresses.
The names of the suspects have recently been released. The suspects from the S. 34th Street invasion include 28 year old Billy Martin, 18 year old Shawn Wesson, and 18 year old Jamere Forrest.
The suspects from the Forest Avenue invasion include 17 year old Quintero Hayes, 17 year old Effren Gibson, and an 18 year old who is still at large.
Formal charges are pending against all five.
NewsCenter 16 did attempt to speak with the individuals whose homes were invaded. The residents on Forest Avenue said they did not wish to comment. The residents on S. 34th Street were not home when our crew visited.