The Cass County Sheriff's Department is seeking the public's help in finding two suspects in a home invasion just outside Vandalia. The suspects are described as two black males in their late teens or early twenties.
It happened on New Year's Eve in the 60000 Block of White Temple Road around 9:40 p.m. The homeowner had gone out to buy a soda to drink while watching the ball drop. When he came home, he walked in on his house being burglarized.
News Center 16 was the first to talk with the victim in an exclusive interview. The homeowner said he came home to find his living room trashed. He said he saw two men inside, but police believe there may have been three. One of the men pointed a gun at him and told him to lay face down on the ground.
When they were through stripping the house of valuables, they tied him up with an extension cord and left.
The victim, who asked to remain anonymous, said police believe he was targeted for the crime. They showed him footprints in the snow that seemed to indicate the thieves were watching him.
"We found footprints all around the house around some of the trees out back, like they were walking around the house waiting for me to leave," he said.
The victim said he believes he surprised the burglars by coming back so early, but also had the impression the burglars must have been watching the house.
"Walking from here to the gas station [and back] only takes me 35 minutes--45 minutes--and that's if I'm doing a little shopping around, talking with the guys, you know. And they knew how to get in my house and what to go for," he said.
The victim said he is thankful that the situation wasn't worse. He said the burglars were relatively "nice."
"They didn't kick me. They didn't shove me down to the ground. They asked me to get down on the ground....they asked me for my money, if I had any drugs or anything," he said. "They weren't there to hurt me."
He also said he believes he was chosen for this crime, because he lives in a less populated area.
"They were smart about it. They went outside of town. That's all I can say to give comfort to the people out there," he said.
The Cass County Sheriff's Department said they also do not believe the community is in any danger at this time, because of the fact that it appears this was a targeted crime.
Anyone with information on this individual, however, should contact the Cass County Sheriff's Department.