St. Helens Police investigating second home invasion call in les - KPTV - FOX 12


St. Helens Police investigating second home invasion call in less than two weeks

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The home at the center of Monday's reported home invasion in St. Helens. (KPTV) The home at the center of Monday's reported home invasion in St. Helens. (KPTV)

St. Helens Police are investigating a second report of a violent home invasion in the small town in less than two weeks.

The latest call came Monday evening from a home near South 4th Street.

“It’s very disturbing because we’ve never seen this kind of crime in St. Helens before,” Anna Steinhart told Fox 12.

Steinhart said she and her family used to live in the home that was invaded Monday, and the victim in this case is her renter.

She said the woman was home alone around 11:30 p.m. Monday, when her dog started barking. With the A/C running, she hadn’t heard anything suspicious, but when she went to check it out she saw things out of place and saw a man leaving through a window.

Then, Steinhart said, a second suspect came up behind her and started choking her until she lost consciousness. When she woke up, she called police.

“I think that was their purpose, to hurt her enough to where they could escape without her calling 911,” Steinhart said.

It’s the second home invasion in St. Helens in less than two weeks.

On May 26, and a mile away, someone broke into Robert Swanberg’s home on South 16th Street. He tried holding the suspect until police arrived, but told Fox 12 his leg gave out and the suspect ended up on top of him, beating him. He also threatened to kill Swanberg.

Police later made an arrest in that case, but said Wednesday it turned out to be a false confession and they’re still looking for the real suspect.

Neighbors like Dave Wise heard about the first case, but didn’t know there’d been a second.

“You have to be vigilant in fighting this stuff and getting to know your neighbors,” Wise said. “An armed society is a polite society. You want to keep yourself secure, and your loved ones, you’re going to have to have some home protection, I’m afraid. It’s a different time today.”

Police released a sketch of the suspect in the May 26 case, and are looking for a man in his 30s, about 5’8” to 5’10” and 180 pounds, with a full but short beard.

Police have not released any suspect descriptions in Monday’s incident, and have not said whether the two may be related.

But Steinhart believes they are and she’s asking people to come together to protect themselves and their neighbors.

She’s getting a security system and taking classes for self-defense and gun safety, knowing that whoever is behind these two home invasions still hasn’t been caught.

“It’s unfortunate we have to do all this,” she said. “But I can’t imagine if she were to have been killed, or that would have been us and my son in that room – that was our home, so it really hit home for us.”

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