BELLEVUE, Ky. – Two victims, a woman and a teenage girl, faced terrifying situations early Sunday morning when they woke up to find a stranger standing next to their beds.
The first incident occurred on Berry Street in Bellevue, when a man entered the home of the former Marine.
“It was about 5 o'clock in the morning and I was sleeping soundly and felt the covers of my bed from over my legs being lifted off of me. I sat up and there was a man crouched beside my bed,” said the woman, who only wished to be identified as “Miss O.” “I didn't see his face. I sat up and screamed and he ran out of my front door.”
Miss O described to Bellevue police a thin, white 5 feet 8 inch tall man who fled out of her house with a cellphone, four packs of cigarettes and $70.
“I was thinking, oh my God, there's somebody in my house and he touched me and it was very creepy and I couldn't figure out how somebody could have gotten in to my home,” she said.
Police later discovered he entered her home through an unlocked bedroom window after trying to opening several other windows around the outside of her home.
A short time later, a second similar incident occurred on Ninth and Isabella streets in neighboring Newport. There the burglar awoke a teenage girl when he lifted the sheets that covered her while she slept. Similar to Miss O’s experience, the burglar fled the house once the young woman awoke.
Miss O’s cellphone was found left in that second victim’s bedroom, concretely connecting the two crimes.
Bellevue police officer John McClain who is investigating the break-in called the incidents very disturbing.
“This burglary is not one like we typically see,” McClain said. “This wasn't your run of the mill (burglary). People are gone during the day at work, break in, get some stuff and get out. This was at night when people are home and contrary to popular belief, most burglaries don't take place at night. It's during the day.”
And the motive for most burglaries is simple, McClain said. Addicts need money for drugs. They get their money stealing and selling items they take.
“I can't say he tried to violate her,” McClain said. “I don't know what his intents were, but he did start lifting the blanket off of her while she was asleep. Was it strictly a burglary and he seen someone sleeping and made a perverse decision in what he was doing or was that what he was there to do is see her sleeping and just happened to take some things? That part is unclear to us at this time.”
The nature of the burglary has neighbors in Bellevue upset.
“I think it's awful. I think it's horrible,” said one Bellevue resident who identified herself as Cathy. “It's scary. It’s getting really scary because I have grandbabies and now I'm wondering if it's even safe for my grandbabies even to be out in the yard playing. I hope they catch him.”
Jackie Haas has lived in Bellevue since 1969 and though she usually keeps her home pretty secure and says the neighborhood is pretty safe, additional precautions are now at the top of her mind.
“Scary,” Haas said. “The neighborhood is pretty quiet, but that would be nerve-racking to find that out.”
As police continue to search for the suspect, they recommend residents follow the advice of Miss O as the temperatures warm up, and windows are left open.
“Please, with this nice weather, if you have your windows open during the day, don't get distracted and forget to lock them before you go to sleep for the night,” Miss O said.
For now, Miss O said she is counting her blessings, and praying for the man who stole from her, at least in part, due to addiction.
“I still fee very violated. I still do,” she said. “Also feeling very blessed. First of all – that it wasn't any worse than it was. I would tell him that I'm praying for him -- and that I hope that he doesn't do this to anybody else because it is pretty terrifying and I really hope that he's punished for it.”
Police ask anyone with information about the case to call CrimeStoppers at 513- 352-3040.