Two men armed with guns tied up a young boy with autism and his babysitter in a violent home invasion in the Bronx, police said.
Seven-year-old Caleb was returning home from school with his babysitter Robert Ross in the Belmont neighborhood Thursday afternoon when the thieves targeted them. Video surveillance footage shows the two men covering their faces in the elevator of the boy's apartment building on East 181st Street moments before the attack.
As Caleb and Ross, 66, entered the apartment the suspects pushed their way in behind them, forced them to the floor and tied them up, police said. Caleb was bound with his own shoelaces.
"They just came from nowhere," Ross said. "This is an ambush, outright ambush."
The thieves pistol-whipped Ross and ransacked the apartment, stealing a safe filled with $5,000 in cash and a jewelry box. Additional surveillance footage shows the robbers leaving the apartment building with bags stuffed with the loot.
Caleb's mother, Lorry Gonzalez, owns a cell phone business nearby and police believe the thieves knew she had the money. Gonzalez said she doesn't feel safe in the neighborhood anymore.
"I feel like I need to move," she said.
What bothers her most is how the attack has traumatized her son. He can't sleep at night. The thieves also stole items she can't put a price tag on.
"They took the silver jewelry box thinking I had jewelry in there, and all I had is like $1 rings and stuff like that — and I had my son's tooth and his pictures. That's the most important thing," she said.
After the suspects fled, Ross was able to untie himself and call 911. He and Caleb were taken to Barnabas Hospital as a precaution.
When Caleb and his mom returned home they discovered a cell phone and a hat in the apartment. Police are examining the items as evidence left behind by the assailants.