An 84-year-old Vancouver woman was accosted in her home Thursday morning by two or more men who broke her front door and forced her into a closet.
Home invasion robberies are rare in Clark County. This one occurred before daylight in the city’s Northcrest neighborhood. The woman had been asleep in her home in the 5700 block of Montana Lane when she heard the doorbell ring several times, according to the Vancouver Police Department. When she went to answer, she found intruders had already forced their way into her home.
They ordered her into a closet and told her to be quiet. If she followed their orders, they said they wouldn’t hurt her, according to the police. She complied.
After they left, she exited the closet and called 911 at 6:32 a.m. Police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said the woman had been in the closet for only a short while before calling.
Detectives from the Vancouver Police Department interviewed the woman and some neighbors in the hope of piecing together what happened. They also canvassed the neighborhood looking for suspects but were provided scant details by the homeowner.
“We’re hoping there were neighbors who were up at the time (of the crime),” Kapp said. “Now that they’re hearing about this, it might jog their memory.”
The police department is not releasing information about what was stolen or its value, Kapp said.
At this point, police say there were at least two intruders and may have been more. Police don’t have a description of the suspects or their vehicle, Kapp said. They are asking that anybody who thinks they have information about either to contact the police department’s anonymous tip line.
The woman told police she did not know the men. But she recalls receiving a phone call Wednesday from someone allegedly representing an alarm company and asking her if she had an alarm system in her home.
Many of the neighborhood’s front yards include signs indicating the houses are protected by home security devices.
The break-in came as a shock to some neighbors, who awoke Thursday to five police cruisers swarming their streets.
“It seems pretty bizarre,” mused Herb Cook, who lives on the same street where the home invasion occurred. “This is the calmest neighborhood you could possibly enjoy.”
Neighbors said they hadn’t seen or heard any commotion during the early-morning hours.
Despite the shocking and seemingly random nature of the crime, some neighbors said they’d seen signs that their quiet streets were being targeted for crime.
Over the summer, Northcrest Community Church was tagged by graffiti multiple times. The faint outline of a tag remains visible under a coat of white paint on the church’s storage shed.
“It’s a quiet neighborhood,” neighbor Stephen Cottle said, “but it’s not like we don’t have indications that things aren’t right.”
Anyone who has received a similar call from someone claiming to represent an alarm company or anyone who has information about the robbery on Montana Lane are asked to call the Vancouver Police Department Tip Line at 360-487-7399 (reference case number V13-14709).