Calm home-robbery victim calls 911, leading to arrest
Apr 19, 2012 (The News Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Gabriele Senn didn't scream or yell when two intruders broke into her South Tacoma home Tuesday night and walked into her bedroom.
Even when one stuck a gun in her face and demanded her bank account information, the 67-year-old Senn kept her cool.
"They were flabbergasted because I wasn't hysterical," Senn recalled Wednesday. "If I screamed and yelled, who is going to hear me?"
But she was able to dial 911 minutes before midnight, prompting Tacoma police officers to come to her ransacked house.
The officers arrived as one of the intruders carried a large-screen television out of Senn's home. He was arrested a short time later.
Tacoma police detectives were still searching for two others suspected in the home-invasion robbery.
Meanwhile, the 20-year-old man arrested in the incident was booked into Pierce County Jail on suspicion of first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery and unlawful imprisonment.
The man, who has prior burglary and theft convictions, told officers he and an accomplice broke into the home in the 3600 block of South Gunnison Street on Tuesday night.
The accomplice held a gun and had a bandana over his face. The intruders found Senn in her bed. They demanded the access number for her bank account and wanted to know if she had a safe.
Senn said she told the intruders they didn't need the gun.
"It doesn't bother me," she said later. "I told them they could put that away."
Senn provided a number for her bank account. The 20-year-old suspect remained at the house while the accomplice left.
The accomplice was picked up by a third suspect and tried to access the victim's bank account, Tacoma police reported.
When that failed, the accomplice returned to the house. He and the 20-year-old then ransacked the home and filled backpacks with Senn's belongings.
Officers arrived as the 20-year-old was leaving the house. He saw the officers and ran. A police dog found him a short distance away, police reported. He was treated for minor injuries after the dog bit him.
Officers also found the backpacks and recovered the items taken from Senn's home.
The accomplice was described as an Asian man dressed in black clothing. He wore a reddish bandana over his face and a black hat with red writing, Senn said.
Investigators suspect he slipped out of the victim's house at some point.
Senn was not injured.
"I didn't get out of bed," she said. "They didn't touch me."
Neither Senn nor detectives knew why the suspects picked her house, which is surrounded by a tall, wooden fence. There were no obvious signs of forced entry, Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said.
Senn speculated that the intruders had been watching her or her house. She said she always put a padlock on her gate but didn't find it there Wednesday morning.
"A fence will not keep a robber out," she said.
Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268
KIRO-TV contributed to this report.
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