Kent police probe robberies

By Diane Smith Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Kent Police are urging residents to take appropriate precautions after two men were injured while struggling with separate intruders this week.

The latest incident occurred Wednesday, when a Lake Street man surprised an intruder while checking on the cause of a running furnace early Wednesday morning.

The victim, Edward Heaton, 46, struggled briefly with the intruder, who fled, taking items worth about $410. Heaton was treated at his home by the Kent Fire Department for a scrape on his forearm and a bruised forehead.

The intruder is still at large.

Early Monday morning, Gregory Bambeck, 50, of South Pearl Street, was robbed at knifepoint by a woman he let into his home and a male accomplice, who overpowered Bambeck in a struggle, bound him and robbed him at knife point.

James D. Walker, 51, of Sumner Street, Ravenna Township, was charged with aggravated robbery and Kimberly D. Wilson, 42, no permanent address, was charged with complicity to aggravated robbery, first-degree felonies. They remain in the Portage County Jail, where they are each being held on a $500,000 bond.

The two incidents are not related, police said.

Lt. Greg Urchek of the Kent Police Department said there are national trends that show crime going up in the warmer months, but a break-in can occur at any time.

People should prepare by making sure their doors and windows are securely locked and that the landscaping is done so there are no bushes where an intruder can hide. They also should keep lights on inside and out.

"A watchdog doesn't hurt," he said.

He said people should be cautious when struggling with intruders, and use force only to protect themselves or their family. Non-lethal weapons, such as pepper spray, are available, but people should make sure they know how to use them so the intruder doesn't take them away and use them on the victim instead.

"You should try to avoid at all costs any physical alteration," he said. "You're opening yourself up to a lot of vulnerability. You don't know what kind of weapon an intruder may have. If it's just someone after personal property that can be replaced, cooperate as much as possible."

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