WHITING, Ind. (CBS) — Police in several Northwest Indiana towns are looking for three Chicago men wanted for a series of daylight home invasions of elderly residents’ houses.
Police identified the suspects as Sandy Ely, his son, Tony Ely, and a cousin, Anthony Miller. The men could be traveling in a GMC Acadia. They’re all considered armed and dangerous.
The crew is talking their way into the homes of the elderly and getting away with cash and valuables.
“They’re going to tell you they’re from the water department, they’re from a utility company,” Det. Cpl. John Siple of the Highland Police Department tells CBS 2’s Pamela Jones.
Home surveillance video shows a Hammond woman in her 90s enter her door back in June after getting her mail, with a suspect right behind her.
Police said Sandy Ely went to the door to call his partner, and the partner distracted the victim.
Police photos from Highland show the mess the crew allegedly left behind when they forced their way into the home of an 87-year-old man in August.
“As I opened the door, he shoved me right in,” the victim told Jones.
The victim says he was dragged to a safe, and a suspect held a screwdriver to his neck, threatening to stab him.
“’Open this safe, or if not, I’ll run this screwdriver into your neck,’” the victim said he was told. “What could I do against three people in their 40s?”
Whiting, Ind., police Chief Stephen Miller tells the Northwest Indiana Times that elderly people tend to wait for the mail to come, and when they go out the door to get it, the robbers force them back inside.
But the offenders have also knocked on doors telling people their houses are on fire or used other ruses.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports
In one such case in East Chicago, Ind., on Aug. 8, the home invaders came inside a 95-year-old woman’s house, and told them that if she didn’t stop hitting them with her cane, they would hit her with a statue of the Virgin Mary, the newspaper reported.
The three men invaded the home of an 87-year-old Highland, Ind., man the same day and robbed him, the Times reported.
They are also suspected in Sept. 9 the robbery of a 79-year-old couple in Merrillville, in which they held a screwdriver to one victim’s neck and threatened them with a shotgun. They also hit the couple several times, threw furniture on top of them and yanked their telephones out of the walls, the Times reported.
There have been similar crimes in a total of six communities, the Times reported.
They have been seen driving a gray four-door Acadia with false plates, and a dark gray Jeep Commander with temporary Illinois license plate 589 M 586, the Times reported. One East Chicago police detective chased the men into the city’s South Chicago neighborhood, but they escaped after hitting a squad car, the newspaper reported.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the three suspects should contact the following:
Lake County Sheriff’s dispatch, non-emergency: (219) 755-3333
Lake County Sheriff Warrant Unit: (219) 755-3057
U.S. Marshal Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force: (219) 852-6776