HOBART | An elderly Hobart woman living alone was targeted for robbery by three men she earlier paid to shovel snow, police said.
The three men, who were taken into custody by Hobart police Tuesday night at their Cressmoor Trailer Park home, were charged Wednesday through Lake County court, Hobart police Lt. David Grissom said.
"It feels good to get these guys off the streets," Grissom said.
A.J. Carlson and Wesley Haggerty, both 18, and Mark Casper, 50, all of Hobart, were charged with one count each of burglary resulting in bodily injury, robbery resulting in bodily injury and criminal confinement.
Grissom said police received several tips from the public after the Jan. 31 home invasion and robbery of an 89-year-old woman in the 1100 block of West 38th Avenue.
"Someone came forward and said they knew who had committed the crime," Grissom said.
Police were issued a search warrant and at 5 p.m. Tuesday drove to the Cressmoor Trailer Park to arrest the three men.
Grissom said police knocked on the door of the trailer and, when those inside refused to answer, forced their way in.
"We located the stolen property, including a 36-inch Samsung television set and jewelry," Grissom said.
Casper told police he had driven Carlson, his nephew, and Carlson's friend Haggerty into the elderly woman's neighborhood on Jan. 24 to go door to door, asking if people wanted their sidewalks shoveled.
The elderly woman took them up on the offer for help. When they realize she lived alone, they decided to come back one week later to rob her, Casper told police.
Casper said he drove the two younger men back to the woman's house Jan. 31 and watched as they got in through a closed but unlocked door, court documents state.
Carlson admitted he and Haggerty entered the home and saw the elderly woman, who uses a walker, standing inside the hallway.
They cut the lines feeding electricity to her house and all but one phone line.
Carlson said he held the woman down while Haggerty searched the house for the items to steal, according to reports.
Carlson said he tried to put tape over the woman's mouth, but she struggled and he ended up wrapping the tape around her head instead.
He said they left with the stolen goods and Casper drove them back to the trailer court.
Grissom credited what he called the "gutsy style" of the woman.
"She fought back and her fighting back probably got them out of her house sooner. She wasn't afraid to fight back," Grissom said.
The woman wasn't seriously injured during the incident, but was taken to St. Mary Medical Center for observation, Grissom said.