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Terror, then anger

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Slapped, bruised, scratched, 75-year-old recounts violent home invasion

By Meaghan Downs

Two men stole her wedding band and engagement ring off her fingers and left purple bruises on her forearms.
Rena Reed, 75, said she bruises easily.
As easily, it seems, as it took two men to rob her in a home invasion last Friday morning at Reed’s Jean Drive residence.   
They took cash, pills and jewelry.
The two men also took Reed’s love of fresh air, the ability to open her windows and doors without fear.
 “If I lock my windows and doors and close all the curtains, I’m in jail,” Reed, who moved to her Jean Drive home about 24 years ago and now lives with her daughter Anna and Anna’s fiancé, said Monday morning.
“They steal your safety and security,” Reed said. “They invade your privacy. They just walk in, just take over. You’re not in control. Somebody else is in control, somebody you don’t know.”
According to Lt. Mike Schell of the city police department, two white men entered the back of Reed’s Jean Drive residence on July 26 at about 10:30 a.m.
Reed said she had checked Facebook that morning and was playing Spider Solitaire on her computer in a spare bedroom when she saw movement in the corner of her eye.
“Before I could hardly move, they were on top of me,” Reed said, adding that the two men then grabbed her and moved her into her living room of her ranch-style house.  
Reed described one of the men as skinny and tall, in his 20s or early 30s with shaggy blond hair under a baseball cap. The man looked like he hadn’t shaved for a few days and was wearing rumpled clothes that looked slept in, she said.
He was the nervous one that paced around her living room, Reed said, and he had a pocketknife.
The other man had a round face and a buzzed haircut, and was about the same age as the nervous man. Reed said she thought she noticed him wearing black and white tennis shoes.
Reed said she never wants to see them again.
More than a dozen Kentucky State Police, city and county officers searched for four hours for the two suspects. The two men are still at large as of July 29.
The man with the pocketknife was quiet, but the other man — the one with the round face — got close into Reed’s face, screeching, “Pain, perc, 30.”
Reed said she didn’t know what the man meant until he noticed her medication on the coffee table.
Reed, who has osteoporosis, said she’s pretty healthy and only takes baby aspirin, blood pressure medication, medication for plaque in her arteries, and some pain medication for past fractured vertebrae.
The man with the round face took the pills.
He saw the checkbook on the coffee table, and the $237 in cash stuffed in the back to pay for Reed’s bills.
He took that, too.
Reed said he smacked her hands. Give me your rings, he said.  
Reed never takes off her wedding band, a plain gold ring she’s worn for 56 years. She never takes off her 1/2 karat solitaire diamond engagement ring, given to her by her late husband Clay, who died in 1999. Reed and her husband would have celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary in May.
She took both rings off for the men in her living room, though it was difficult because her fingers still swollen from the morning.  
“But if [police] find [the suspects], I hope they’ve got my rings. But I know they won’t. They were mine,” Reed said Monday afternoon, starting to cry as she remembered the incident. “Something my husband gave me.”
The man noticed two gold chains around Reed’s neck. One chain had a heart with a diamond in it, a gift given to Reed by her mother in 1986.
The man scratched Reed on the neck with his finger as he snapped both chains off her neck with a tug.
The man with the round face then reached for Reed’s cell phone. Reed said she doesn’t own a landline; her cell phone was her only connection to the police, her daughter or an ambulance.
Reflexes kicked in and gave Reed a voice — an angry one.
“No, you can’t take my phone, you son of a b----,” Reed recalled saying as she grabbed man’s hand and reached for her cell.
The man with the round face slapped Reed across the face.
She fell against her loveseat and to the floor. The man with the round face threw the cell phone on the ground and left quickly with the nervous man through the front door.
Reed said she had never been slapped or hit before in her life.
“I’m not a person you can hit,” Reed said. “Anybody hits me, you’re going to get hit back.”
She said her first reaction to the home invasion was sheer terror. Then it was anger.
“I’m angry now,” she said as she retraced the events of the home invasion. “This man had the nerve to hit me. Could have killed me, I guess. But he didn’t.”
Reed eventually found her phone and called 911. She said dispatch stayed on the line with her until police arrived.
According to city police, Reed was emotional following the incident, but was otherwise unharmed.
Reed went to the hospital as a precaution. She said she had no broken bones, just a line of finger-like bruises on both forearms and a light scratch on her neck where the man with the round face yanked off her necklace.
She understands why police initially reported that she was unharmed in the incident.
But she wasn’t unharmed, not one bit.
“But it’s more than that,” Reed said. “It’s your security, your ability to feel safe in your own home.”
Reed said in the days following the home invasion, she keeps reliving last Friday. She said she doesn’t know what the script is, what she’s supposed to do now.
What she does know: Anderson County is still a good, safe place to live.
What happened to her could have happened to anyone, Reed said. What happened last Friday is not a “black eye” on Anderson County.
As far as Reed is concerned, the home invasion could have happened across the street or in any other county.
 “Anderson County is a great place to live, a great place to raise your families,” Reed, who has four children, five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and one foster grandbaby, said. “I’ve got good neighbors; the only thing they’re guilty of is getting to work in the morning to earn a dollar. A black eye for Anderson County? No. I love Anderson County. I love living here.”
She said she does hope her neighbors are concerned enough to be watchful and careful, especially families.
Reed said she’s checks outside when feeding her cats or watering the flowers, and is still leery about opening the door.
But she won’t be a prisoner.
She’s not the one who should have to live under lock and key.
 

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Suspects remain at large
City police called off a search for two men suspected of a July 26 home invasion on Jean Drive.
Not too long after Rena Reed called police to report the home invasion, Lt. Mike Schell of the Lawrenceburg Police Department said an Anderson County sheriff’s deputy on patrol noticed a suspicious vehicle with three people in it.
When the deputy approached the vehicle, two men fled on foot into the woods behind a cluster of apartments on Carlton Drive.
The woman driving the car told the deputy the two men were hitchhikers she picked up by Lawrenceburg Cemetery, Schell said.
More than a dozen Kentucky State troopers, city police and sheriff’s deputies canvassed the woods near the intersection of Carlton Drive and Harrodsburg Road and behind the older section of Lawrenceburg cemetery for four hours before calling off the search at about 5:30 p.m. last Friday afternoon.
A K-9 unit from the Kentucky State Police also assisted the officers’ search.
City police confirmed Tuesday afternoon that they do not think the two men who fled the suspicious vehicle are the same two men involved in the home invasion on Jean Drive.
Schell said the two male suspects of the home invasion have most likely left the area, but that Anderson County residents should be aware of any suspicious people or behavior.
“We’re going to continue to investigate any leads,” Schell said last Friday afternoon. “Hopefully we come up with who did this.”
The Lawrenceburg Police Department is in charge of the investigation.