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Man bound, pistol whipped in Vashon Island home invasion
Two masked robbers entered an Islander’s house earlier this month, pulled the resident out of his bed, pistol-whipped him, bound him with duct tape and left him bleeding profusely in his home, the King County Sheriff’s Office reported Monday.
The two men — captured on video by the homeowner’s surveillance equipment — made away with two laptops and $400 in cash that they got out of the victim’s safe. Neither has been apprehended, and, despite the video footage, detectives currently have no leads, according to Sgt. John Urquhart, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
The victim’s door was unlocked, Urquhart said, underscoring his belief that Vashon residents should lock their doors. At the same time, he said, such “home invasion robberies,” as this incident is called, are exceedingly rare.
The home appeared to be targeted, Urquhart added.
“For some reason, they thought there was money in his house,” he said. “Clearly, that location was targeted.”
The incident took place around 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19. The victim, who came to The Beachcomber’s office on Monday to discuss the robbery, still bore the signs of the attack: His face was bruised.
As a result of the pistol-whipping, he received nine stitches — six stitches on the front of his head and three on the back.
The victim, 46, a longtime Island resident, described a horrific ordeal, some of which he captured on videotape.
The two men — one of whom had a gun — first appear in the video tiptoeing around his property on Gorsuch Road S.W. They’re then seen opening the door, creeping into the house and holding out their hand to the man’s dog, making sure the animal wouldn’t growl or bite.
A few seconds later, the camera captures scenes of the victim struggling and squirming while he’s dragged across the carpeted floor; one of the assailants then gets on top of him and binds his wrists and ankles with duct tape. The assailant later hits him repeatedly with his gun, threatening to shoot him if he didn’t tell them where his money was.
After they left, the victim was able to remove the duct tape from his ankles rather quickly, he said. He then crawled to his toolbox and used a pair of wire cutters to remove the tape that bound his wrists, a process that took 10 minutes.
The two suspects are in their 20s, and both weigh around 200 pounds. One is 5’ 10”, wore glasses under his mask and appeared to be Hispanic. The other was white and was 6’ 1”. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 296-3311 or 911.
The victim, who said the assailants were strangers, said he wished his doors would have been locked. “If I’d had the doors locked, I would have had enough time to call 911,” he said.
He said he believes the two men are off-Islanders who have what he calls a safe house on Island — a place where they can hide out and wait before immediately heading to the ferry line to get off of Vashon.
After the incident, he had new keys and locks installed on all the doors in his home and made sure his windows can be latched and made secure.
He said the crime has convinced him that other Islanders may be vulnerable, and he plans to encourage others to be more vigilant about locking doors.
“A lot of people on Vashon have a lax attitude about this sort of thing,” he said. “For whatever reason, I was targeted. ... But others should think about their own vulnerabilities. And if you have valuables people could grab and snatch, you should put them away.”
Urquhart said the incident does not match any unsolved crimes on Vashon or King County. Should the perpetrators get apprehended, they could face some serious prison time — as the incident entailed not only robbery but also assault.
For his part, the victim said he’s getting on with his life and is not living in fear.
“Initially, I thought they might come back, but I don’t anymore,” he said.
The victim had a video surveillance system and photos from the system are attached [See more photos below].
If anyone has any information on this crime they are asked to call the King County Sheriff's Office at (206) 296-3311 (24 hours) or 9-1-1.
The Beachcomber will update this story or post new information on the home page as we learn more.