From Staff Reports
KEYSER – West Virginia State Police are investigating a Saturday-night home invasion that left an elderly New Creek woman hospitalized with injuries from what police describe as a severe beating.
Troopers from the Keyser Barrack responded at 8:43 p.m. to the incident, which occurred in a home off of U.S. 220 near Wal Mart. According to police the assailant forced his way into the residence after knocking on the door, beat the 86-year-old occupant, who lives alone, and stole cash and jewelry.
"This is absolutely a priority for us," a spokesman for the Keyser Barrack said Monday morning. "We have a lot of elderly people in this area and someone's going to end up getting killed if this goes on. Elderly people can't take a beating like that; she was hurt pretty bad."
Police urged area residents to be extra vigilant while the suspect remains at large. Doors should remain locked at all times, and should not be opened – even a crack – until the person knocking or ringing the bell can be verified as a known acquaintance.
The State Police spokesman said an individual capable of committing such a crime may be more emboldened to strike a second time.
"We're going to get this animal," the spokesman said.
According to police, the assailant first made contact with the victim by knocking on the door and claiming that there was a gas leak inside the residence that needed to be repaired. The woman refused the allow the man in, at which point he forced his way into the residence.
"It doesn't take much for a man to push his way past an 80-plus-year-old woman," the police spokesman said.
Once in the home, the assailant beat the woman severely and proceeded to move through the home searching for valuables, including cash and jewelry.
The woman was hospitalized for treatment of her injuries.
Police said they are focusing intently on the case and are hopeful that the assailant will be quickly caught. "We're working on some leads, we hope they work out," the spokesman said. "We're going to do our absolute best to solve this."
The lead investigator on the case is Cpl. J.E. Whisner. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact West Virginia State Police at 304-788-1101.