Friday, March 14, 2003

Arrest eases victim whose home invaded


Man forced way in with gun

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FAIRFIELD TWP. - Angie Lawson says she'll sleep more soundly now that police have arrested a suspect in the Feb. 25 home invasion at her Allstatter Avenue residence - thought to be the first such crime in at least four years in this community.

"I've been afraid," Angie, 17, said Thursday. "I've been staying up at night, having trouble going to sleep."

A Crime Stoppers tip resulted in an aggravated robbery charge being lodged against Robert Purdue Jr., 40, of West Chester Township, in connection with the home invasion. On Thursday, Purdue was being held in the Butler County Jail.

"I was worried about this one," said Fairfield Township Police Chief Richard St. John. "Home invasions are a particularly violent type of crime - and it makes people feel unsafe in their own homes ... and if you have one, you want to do everything you can to get it solved."

Purdue was arrested Wednesday after West Chester police tried to stop him for an alleged traffic violation. After a chase, West Chester police caught him, Sgt. John said. West Chester officers learned that neighboring police wanted to question Purdue and notified Fairfield Township Detective Gary Welsh, who had been investigating the home invasion. Welsh said he followed a trail of addresses and informants' tips to identify Purdue as the home-invasion suspect.

A police report gave this account of the Feb. 25 incident:

At noon, a masked man came into the home through an unlocked front door. He pointed a gun at Angie, while her 1-year-old daughter, Destiny, sat in a stroller, and ordered, "Take me to your mom or I will kill your baby."

The gunman demanded the grandmother's purse, which contained prescription drugs. The robber fired a shot into a wall, then left.

The grandmother told an Enquirer reporter the crime happened while she was watching a TV news report about a suspected double homicide in nearby Hamilton - a case that became a possible triple homicide later in the day.

In that case, police on Thursday would not say whether Donald J. Ketterer, 53, who is accused of killing Lawrence B. Sanders, 85, could be linked to the deaths of two of Sanders' neighbors: Helen Riley, 55, who bled to death from neck wounds, and her husband, Donald, 44, whose cause of death remains undetermined.

E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com




TOP STORIES
Woman's City Club: We'll stay downtown
Taft wants firms to pay fair share
Politics mire national Amber Alert
Erica's family finds joy, hope in Smart case
Ohio gets millions in taxes from these companies

IN THE TRISTATE
Warm (What's that?) sunny (Can't recall) weekend (Let's go!)
Picking it clean
E-check proposal exempts newer cars from emissions test
City's 15th victim killed along troubled street
Obituary: Ralph Garner III
Tristate A.M. Report

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
AMOS: Boycott or not
BRONSON: Elastic ethics
HOWARD: Some Good News

BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Arrest eases victim whose home invaded
SpongeBob ride opens in May
Shandon keeps a Welsh flair
West Clermont buys property
Abuse law holes raise questions
Fear, caution, patriotism watchwords in Middletown
Baseball team at home in two cites
MU student guilty of misdemeanor in e-mail hoax

OHIO
Top Ohio court considers harm questions from jurors could do
Ohio Moments
Medicaid cuts would hurt Children's, CFO testifies

KENTUCKY
Request would replace Brent Spence
Bates gets 2nd challenge to eligibility
Baseball team home in 2 cities
Bikers and skaters wanted to help run new skate park
Man arrested in convenience store heists
Mich. cracks Covington ID theft case
Graham headlines Lincoln Day Dinner
'We are winning,' Ashcroft insists
Nursing home has potential purchaser
Iraq-bound soldiers get pass from judge
Director of Bill Monroe foundation terminated
Kentucky Obituaries