New Jersey

NJ Woman, 73, Escapes Duct Tape Binds to Call 911 After Scarring Home Invasion

The Clifton home invasion robbery appears to be random, police said Monday

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A 73-year-old New Jersey woman survived an armed home invasion robbery Sunday when two masked intruders entered her home as she worked on a crafting project, according to police.

The robbery in Clifton appears to be random, said police, who responded to Ramona Cartagena's 911 call around 12 p.m. They arrived to her Linden Avenue home and found the woman lying on the floor of her living room. Her mouth had been covered, and wrist and ankles bound with duct tape.

"It was so fast that he's really scary. They can do something like that so fast," Cartagena recalled Monday.

Cartagena said as soon as her front door swung open and she saw a shadowy figure she froze. She'd been crafting in her kitchen when the two men entered, one of them grabbing her duct tape.

"He grabbed me by my hand, put me over here, and taped my hands and feet and my mouth," she said.

While the man pushed her to the ground and tied her up, his accomplice ran up stairs and started ransacking Cartagena's home. Only once they ran out with some of her belongings did she start to wiggle free and use her phone to call police.

"I'm devastated. This is this will never happen again. She will never be left alone or the house will never be left alone at any time," her son-in-law, Dennis Molner, said.

With the intruders still on the loose, Molner said he's going to add cameras at her home.

Among the items stolen, mostly cash and jewelry, Cartagena said the thieves swiped a piece belonging to her deceased daughter. It was jewelry Cartagena had planned to pass down to her granddaughter.

"It's sad because it's something that she left for her daughter knowing that this is going to have it," she said.

No arrests have been made; an investigation is ongoing.

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