3 suspects wanted in NW Ind. robberies

December 9, 2011 (WHITING, Ind.)

The robberies have occurred in six northwest Indiana cities since early August. In some cases, the victims were approached outside their homes and forced back inside.

In five of the six communities, arrest warrants have been issued for three Chicago men -- Sandy Ely, 40, Tony Ely, 23 and Anthony Miller, 39 -- in connection with the attacks and robberies, which first occurred locally in East Chicago, Indiana in August and again last month.

One of the most recent attacks happened on November 28th as an 89-year-old Whiting, Indiana resident went outside to get her mail.

"She said before she knew it the gentleman was up the stairs...and just kind of pushed his way through, pushed her back in the house. She has a walker, there's not much she can really do about it," said the victim's granddaughter, who did not want to be identified.

Relatives say the woman was also choked by one of her attackers when she yelled for help.

"They were trying to pull the rings off but she's feisty enough, she was pulling back so they didn't get the rings off. But she hit the one man...in the head with the phone," said another granddaughter.

Authorities confirm the burglary is a part of a rash of attacks on the elderly across Lake County, Indiana.

"It's so random. Why would anybody want to do it, especially to an elderly, old woman" said Whiting resident Jeff Raymond.

"They came out through my garage and they broke into the house when nobody was home," said one homeowner who walked in on the burglars. "It wasn't a confrontation."

Most of the victims are between 79 to 95 years old. Similar incidents have also happened in Highland, Munster and Merrillville where a 79-year-old couple was held and robbed.

Detective Jeff Rice says the crew often poses as utility or home improvement workers.

"You'd have two that would hold the meter, in my case one at gunpoint and one with a long screwdriver to the throat while the others ransacked the home looking for cash and jewelry," said Rice.

Authorities along with the community hope the men can be caught before a crime goes terribly wrong.

"I live with my mother and she's elderly. I'm just glad I'm here with her because they're no telling what's going to go on around here next," said Wendall Jones.

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