A Sandusky woman in her 70s was ambushed in her own garage Wednesday morning, bound with duct tape and robbed of her pricey jewelry.
Two men made off with an undisclosed amount of valuables, and police are still searching for them.
“This was not a random act,” Sandusky police Detective Dana Newell said.
Nellie Lee Dauch was getting ready for work at about 7:30 a.m. at her Pinewood Drive condominium when she stepped outside, opened her garage door and began to slip on her boots, said Don Dauch, the victim's son.
Two men — described to officials as a short white man and tall light-skinned black man, both in dark clothing — stormed into the woman's garage. They bound the woman's mouth and limbs with duct tape, carried her inside and threw her onto the bed, Newell said.
Their sole target appeared to be the expensive jewelry Lee Dauch was known to don.
“They threatened to kill her if she didn't tell them where her jewelry was,” Dauch said.
The pair ripped a necklace off her neck and stripped her fingers of her rings. They fruitlessly attempted to steal one of the rings, which they couldn't yank off her finger due to arthritis, Dauch said.
The men also looted a jewelry container inside the home.
The only other item apparently stolen from the home was a checkbook that was in Dauch's purse. Curiously, the thieves left more than $100 cash and Dauch's credit cards untouched.
Once they stole what they were after, the men fled on foot. Dauch then managed to wriggle out of the tape and call police.
Sandusky police swarmed the area, and Venice Heights Elementary School was placed on lockdown until officials determined there was no longer a threat, Newell said.
Dauch's relatives speculated the men were lying in wait, scoping out her house until they saw an opportunity to enter. The house is protected by an alarm system, Dauch said, and he believes the suspects waited for his mother to open the garage so as not to trip the alarm.
Dauch said investigators are now searching for the possible getaway vehicle. Police believe the suspects were familiar with the victim, as does Dauch. “She had a lot of expensive jewelry," Dauch said. "To me, they were specifically targeting the jewelry."
In the two decades the woman has called Pinewood Drive home, she's never had problems and never dealt with breaking and entering, Dauch said.
Though she was not outright assaulted during the invasion, Dauch later went to Firelands Regional Medical Center for back pain, from when the men threw her onto the bed. She was shaken but will recover, her son said.
Newell and Sandusky police officers, meanwhile, were tight-lipped about the incident. Newell acknowledged Dauch was bound and that the men stole her valuables. He declined to comment on particulars because detectives are still in the throes of their investigation.
Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents assisted Sandusky police at the scene.
Anyone with information is urged to call 911 or Sandusky Police at (419)627-5863