‘Don’t say a word or I’ll cut your throat’
UPDATED: Lexington police released a sketch Friday of a man who claimed he was out of gas and robbed an 86-year-old woman at her home earlier this week.
The suspect was described as a white male with collar-length, dirty blond hair. He is about 40 to 50 years old, about 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds.
Nellie Rhorer said she heard a knock at her door about 8:40 p.m. Wednesday. When she answered, Rhorer was greeted by a man who appeared friendly and said he needed to use the phone because he had run out of gas. Rhorer could not see the man’s vehicle beyond nearby shrubbery.
“I know it was stupid for me to go out, but he seemed real nice,” Rhorer said in a phone interview Thursday.
It wasn’t uncommon for people who are stranded to drop by her house, which is on the 4800 block of Athens-Boonesboro Road, near Interstate 75, asking for help.
About a month ago, Rhorer gave a gallon of gas to a man who showed up at the house, where she’s lived since 1958.
Rhorer offered her cordless phone to the man who asked for help Wednesday, leaving him on the porch and closing the storm door between them.
The man made two calls, Rhorer said, apparently speaking to someone after he dialed the second time. The TV was on in the house, so Rhorer didn’t hear what the man said, but he told her no one was available to come help him.
He asked Rhorer if she had some gasoline.
Rhorer closed the front door and went out the back door to a shed in the rear of the house, where she kept the lawn mower and gasoline.
She didn’t realize the man had left the front porch until he shoved her from behind while she was getting the gas.
He had a knife.
“He said, ‘Keep real quiet; don’t say a word. Or I’ll cut your throat,’” Rhorer recalled.
The man followed her into the house, went into the kitchen, grabbed her purse and left through the front door. Rhorer, who was not injured, called police.
Investigators say the man may have hopped in a nearby car, which witnesses said was gray. Police do not know the make and model.
With the purse, the robber got more than $600 cash, jewelry and Rhorer’s prescription eyeglasses, among other items.
Rhorer said she hardly ever has money in the house but decided to cash a government rebate check earlier that day because her granddaughter’s birthday was coming, plus she had a dentist appointment and other tasks to take care of.
“It just seems so odd that he came at a time when I had money,” Rhorer said.
Investigators asked Rhorer whether someone could have followed her from the bank. But that didn’t seem likely, since she’d stopped at Wal-mart and Kroger on her way home.
Whoever the crook was, he has ruined chances that Rhorer will help the next stranger who comes to her in need.
“Next time it happens, they’ll walk to the filler station,” she said.
Anyone with information about the robbery should call police at (859) 258-3700.
Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at (859) 231-1386 or 1-800-950-6397 Ext. 1386.