MIAMI (CBS4) – Miami police detectives are investigating after an elderly woman was tied up as thieves ransacked her home Monday afternoon.

The victim lives alone at a home on Southwest 17th Terrace west of SW 12 Ave., police said. Investigators did not release her age or name, but neighbors said the woman is named Martha Fuentes.

Detectives said the woman heard a knock on the door just after 2 o’clock Monday afternoon. When she opened the door she found three strangers.

They were Hispanic men between 25 and 30 years old, police said. Detectives did not give descriptions of their clothing, but said the men were taller than 6 feet and weighed more than 200 lbs.

The men knocked her down, bound her hands, and used duct tape to cover parts of her face.

“They covered her eyes, her head and her ears to evidently ransack the house,” Det. Max Valdes said.

The woman sought the comfort and safety of family after the terrifying ordeal.

She was seen walking with a cane to a waiting SUV hours after the home invasion.

The hood of a red jacket blocked her face from cameras. She did not wish to speak to the media, but her neighbors were quick to express their fear.

“The poor lady,” said Maria Rapio. “I feel bad for her. I have a headache now because I’m scared.”

Some neighbors said their block is safe. They did not recall any recent crimes.

But Rapio told a different story. She said her home was burglarized a few weeks ago and she has been worried about another possible break-in ever since.

“I live here 37 years, never have any problem,” Rapio told CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana. “But now every day, somebody steal something. I’m scared you know because we are not safe no more.”

It’s not known if the cases are connected.

Police did not say exactly what the thieves got away with in this crime, but did stress that these cases are not usually random.

While the woman here was not hurt, detectives said she was shaken up after fearing the worst.

“Your life hangs in the balance,” Det. Valdes said. “I’ve seen enough home invasions throughout the city, especially now with the shootings and armed robberies that we’ve been having. It’s normal behavior.”

Police went door-to-door looking for surveillance video but did not find any.

They don’t have a vehicle description, but said they have several possible leads.

If you have any information, contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.


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