Family of 7 held hostage as burglars scour house
Tacoma police on Thursday were searching for three men who held seven members of a family at gunpoint and ransacked their Northeast Tacoma home.
None of the family members was hurt and the robbers left after less than 10 minutes with “very little” in cash, police said.
The robbers – two armed with handguns – kicked in the front door of the house in the 3700 block of 50th Avenue Northeast sometime after 1:30 a.m. while the four adults and three children were sleeping, police said.
Police had only vague descriptions of the robbers. One was black and wore a mask; one was white and had the hood of his sweatshirt cinched tight around his face. The family didn’t get a good look at the third robber, police spokesman Mark Fulghum said.
He gave this account of what happened:
The intruders rounded up the family – two men, two women, an 11-year-old girl, an 8-year-old boy and a 9-month-old boy – and brought them into the living room. One family member grabbed a homemade machete, but the robbers quickly took it away.
The robbers demanded the family’s purses and cash. They knocked over a TV entertainment center and ransacked two bedrooms as they searched for any hidden cash.
“They kept asking for money, but we don’t have (anything),” one of the residents, identified only as Ben, told KIRO-TV.
Investigators were looking into whether the robbers targeted the house for a specific reason.
“Obviously, they picked this house,” Fulghum said. “(But) based on the fact that they got little money, we don’t know how much planning the suspects did.”
Ben told KIRO he didn’t know why his house was picked.
“I have no enemies – ever,” he said.
Detectives were looking into whether the intruders could be responsible for any other home-invasion robberies recently in Tacoma. They’ll also check with the robbery detectives from surrounding law enforcement agencies.
On May 10, two armed men busted into the South Tacoma home of a husband and wife and held them hostage for three hours before taking their jewelry, electronics and cash meant for a family vacation.
The intruders wore blue bandanas over their faces and appeared to be communicating with someone outside the house during the heist. They were vaguely described as 20 to 30 years old and not Caucasian and not black.
Fulghum said detectives were comparing notes from the overnight robbery to the May 10 robbery.
“It sounds like there are more differences than similarities,” he said.