Men dressed as utility workers rob woman at gunpoint

It happened early Wednesday morning in a West Austin neighborhood and police say the suspects are still out there.

It was 8:30 Wednesday morning when Jim Ratley's wife heard a knock at the door. He had just left the house.

“My wife was expecting somebody so she went to the door and looked in the peephole and she saw two men,” said Ratley.

But she wasn't expecting these men. They were dressed as utility workers, and considering the contractors who've come in her house recently for estimates, she thought nothing of it, and opened the door.

“One of them pulled a stocking mask on his face and they stuck pistols in her face and pushed her back in the house,” said Ratley.

They demanded money from the woman, and later tied her up while they ransacked the house.
Police think they could have worked in the home before.

“It wasn't a blind target of opportunity house, let's go in and see what we can find. They knew what they were looking for inside the home,” said Det. Rolando Gutierrez, Austin Police Department.

The victim was able to break free and call 9-1-1 from a neighbor's house while the men were still inside the house. One neighbor actually saw the men before they knocked on the door.

“We have a neighbor down the street who happened to be coming out at the time to get a newspaper and as they were doing so, saw the suspect vehicle and the two Hispanic males as they were walking away from the vehicle toward the victim's house,” said Gutierrez.

Jim Ratley is just grateful his wife is alright, because one thing money can't buy is a human life.

“We are very thankful because there's nothing they took that insurance won't replace. There were a few family heirlooms and things we hate to lose but the main thing they took from us is our security, it'll be a while before we get that back,” said Ratley.

The suspects described are described as  wearing dark, worn clothes and a yellow helmet. One may be wearing an orange vest and knit mask or stocking cap. APD wants to remind everyone be cautious about opening the door, and ask for proper credentials, even call the agency they say they are representing.

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