December 21, 2014

Elyria
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Robbers invade restaurant owner’s home

ELYRIA — From across the street, the encounter looked like nothing more than a couple of salesmen on a door-to-door call.

But police say the two men who knocked on the door of a Hawthorne Street home had something more sinister in mind: They forced their way into the home of the 67-year-old woman, beat her and taped her up with duct tape before spraying Mace in her face.

Pung Y Lam Ko suffered only minor injuries, but she was visibly shaken and bloodied as she was led to an ambulance after the incident.

The incident happened around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Elyria police Lt. Andy Eichenlaub said Ko slipped free and ran out the back door to the nearby Internet Auto Center dealership, where she frantically pounded on the window for help.

“She was bleeding and screaming so hard,” said dealership employee Tony Akhavan. “I couldn’t understand her because she was speaking in Chinese, but she kept pointing at the house. I knew I had to call for help.”

Another dealership employee, John Hayes, chased the men but failed to track them down.

Neighbor Diana Eglin, 61, lives across the street from Ko and said she unknowingly watched the event unfold, not giving a second thought to the men, who she thought were salesmen.

“(Ko) answered right away, and they went in and closed the front door,” Eglin said. “I thought maybe they were salesmen. … I really feel bad because I watched it.”

Ko lives at the home with her son and his family, including two young children, Eglin said. The family owns the Chinese restaurant China Wok, which is just around the corner from their home.

“I feel bad for her,” Eglin said “ … It’s a good thing they didn’t do it when the kids were home.”

Eichenlaub said police are still trying to piece together a motive for the attack and as of late Tuesday were still searching for the men.

The first suspect is described as a 40-year-old man just over 6 feet tall with a stocky build. He had black hair and a black mustache, and was well dressed in light-colored dress slacks, wearing a light-colored sweater and jacket.

The second man was described as a white man around the age of 30 with short hair wearing blue jeans and a casual jacket.

Anyone with any information is encouraged to call the Elyria Police Department at (440) 323-3302.

Eichenlaub said police intend to speak with Ko today with the help of an interpreter, but it’s still too early in the investigation to say whether the attack was random.

“Until we have more of an opportunity to speak with the victim and her son, we really don’t know what the motive of this may be,” he said. “We have not had any other incidents of this kind in some time in this area.”

Contact Stephen Szucs at 329-7129 or sszucs@chroniclet.com.