Thief threatens elderly couple in Orlando home
ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - An elderly couple was nearly killed in their own home because some thief wanted their car.
The only good news is that the accused suspect is behind bars.
Police say Randall Lawrence knocked on an elderly couple's door in College Park looking for a hand-out.
"He asked for money, or work he could do for money," said Michelle Guido, with the Orlando Police Department. "She closed the door. Moments later, he came through another door in her home."
That's when the attack started. Police say Lawrence terrorized the couple. First they say he tried to smother the wife with a cushion.
When her husband ran in, investigators say Lawrence grabbed a kitchen knife and slashed him with it. The husband ran to get his pistol, but police say Lawrence overpowered him and grabbed that too.
Then, police say he tied the elderly couple up with an electrical cord and stole their car.
“This is a habitual, violent felon, who's only been out of prison a short time and preyed on these folks hoping to get money or something he could sell to buy heroin,” Guido said.
The couple managed to free themselves and called 911.
Police later found Lawrence with another man, an alleged drug dealer, in the stolen car north of Downtown Orlando. They arrested them both. Neighbors say the victims are struggling to cope.
"They're very shaken-up," says Joan Coye, a neighbor. "There was a knife and gun involved. These are elderly, sweet people who've lived there forever. They're very shaken-up."
But, Coye says they won't live in fear.
"I'm not sure I'm going to downgrade my lifestyle to keep bad guys from getting me," Coye said. "We have nice neighbors. We're all friends. Watch out for each other. There's things you just can't prevent, and just keep your eyes open for each other."
Lawrence’s initial appearance in court is set for Saturday morning.
Orlando Police say anyone can schedule a time for police to visit their home and help them identify security vulnerabilities and risks free of charge.