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Burglars Torture Man With Red-Hot Spoon, Steal Van Used For Disabled Son

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A 70-year-old man says burglars tortured him with a red-hot spoon in his apartment in the old Cabrini-Green neighborhood, and stole the van he uses for his disabled son.

B.T. Gregory told police two men with guns barged into his apartment in the 1300 block of North Cleveland Avenue, near the intersection with Clybourn Avenue and Goethe Street. At the time, Gregory said he had popped out to get his 17-year-old son a snack from a nearby hot dog stand.

The burglars, who were rifling through his possessions when he came home, duct-taped him to a chair at gunpoint and threatened to kill him, he said.

"I thought we were going to die," he told CBS 2's Mike Parker. "They turned up the TV as loud as it would go and said they would shoot."

His son, Pleasure Herron -- a wheelchair-bound cerebral palsy patient and a special education student at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School -- was scared but did not understand what was happening, Gregory said.

The burglars hit the boy, then heated up a spoon over the stove and held it against Gregory's hand to force him to give up the PIN number for his bank card, he added.

The burglars ransacked Gregory's home, taking $300 cash, jewelry, car keys and other possessions that they stuffed into pillow cases, leaving 10 minutes before the building's doorman began his shift at 5 p.m., Gregory said.

Though he was duct-taped to a chair, Gregory managed to scoot over to a cell phone and dial 911, but police arrived after the burglars had fled in his 2000 Ford Windstar he used to transport his son in his wheelchair, he said.

Comments the burglars made about a woman he had never heard of "ratting me out" led him to believe that they mistook his apartment for someone else's, he said.

"It makes no sense," he said. "I hardly have anything, and what I do have is to support my son."

Police were still searching Sunday for the men, described only as two black men in their early- to mid-20s.

The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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