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Elderly Man Held Down During Home Invasion; Suspects May Be Masquerading As Tree Trimmers

LENOX TWP. (WWJ) - Police in Macomb County are searching for a pair of suspects who forced their way into an elderly man's home and held him down during a robbery -- and the crooks might be responsible for a similar crime in St. Clair County.

The incident happened Wednesday afternoon at the man's home in the 5000 block of County Line, near 27 Mile Road in Lenox Township.

The 87-year-old homeowner told deputies that a man forced his way into his home, pushed him down and held him there while a second man searched his home looking for cash, jewelry and drugs.

The man told police that on the previous day, a man came to his home and spoke to him about trimming trees on his property. The man told the visitor that he did not need any tree-trimming and the visitor went on his way.

On Wednesday at approximately 2 p.m., the same individual returned to the home and began a conversation with the homeowner. According to police, the man asked the homeowner to show him the deed to his property, but the homeowner refused. A verbal altercation ensued, during which the assailant grabbed the screen door and pulled it open. He then pushed the homeowner out-of-the-way and knocked him to the floor, according to police.

Once on the ground, the man held the elderly homeowner down by putting his hand on his chest. At this point, a second man then entered the home. Police say the second individual went straight into a bedroom, asking the homeowner, "Where is your money, diamonds and gold? We are looking for money and drugs."

The second man went through each room of the house and threw papers on the floor while searching, police said. He then reentered the room where the homeowner was being held down and asked him where the phone was. Before the homeowner could answer the question, the second man located the cordless phone and tossed it somewhere.

The homeowner told deputies that he did not put up a fight during the nearly 20 minute-long ordeal. He was uninjured during this incident.

Macomb Sheriff deputies spoke with a detective from the St. Clair County Sheriff's Office who related that a similar incident had occurred in their jurisdiction a few days prior. Deputies also spoke with an independent witness who confirmed that she was present at the County Line address during the suspect's initial contact with the homeowner about trimming trees.

The two assailants are described as white males, about 30- to 35-years-old.

One suspect is described as having "olive" skin. Police say he might be Hispanic, but he had no accent. He's approximately 6' tall with a medium build and clean-shaven face. At the time, he was wearing all dark clothing.

The second suspect is approximately 5' 9" tall with a medium build and dark hair. At the time, he was wearing tan pants.

Anyone who might have information is urged to contact the Macomb County Sheriff's Office at 586-307-9412.

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