WORCESTER (CBS) – A Worcester ex-con was arraigned Wednesday on home invasion and armed robbery charges for breaking into an elderly man’s house four times in two weeks.
Police say the criminal odyssey began on June 16. That’s when 83-year-old Robert Ham says the man kicked in his front door on Beaver Brook Parkway.
“If I had been on my game,” says Ham with a wry smile, “I could’ve cracked him with something, maybe.”
Truth is, Ham was just praying the intruder didn’t hurt him — or worse — when he returned on June 22, 25, and 29. “I was hoping I could pacify him and he’d leave,” Ham says. “I thought if he just left quietly I’d be fortunate, I guess.”
The stranger slit window screens, jimmied locks, and broke down doors to get in — brandishing either a gun or a knife.
“He was saying ‘I know you have money here,'” Ham recalls.
Each time he’d make threats before ransacking some drawers and departing with cash and jewelry — only to return a few days later — despite Ham’s calls to police.
“I was pretty upset,” he says shaking his head.
But a break in the case came when police got surveillance video of an attempted burglary at the nearby Edgemere Minimart, and detectives realized the guy trying to chop his way into the store with a hatchet matched Ham’s description of his unwanted visitor. On Tuesday afternoon, police arrested 51-year-old Lonnie Goyette walking in the same neighborhood, and arraigned him today for home invasion and armed robbery — crimes to which he has apparently confessed.
“He told detectives that the knife, gun, and mask he used could be found at his house,” a prosecutor told the court this afternoon.
Goyette lives just a few blocks from the victim.
“It’s a fortunate thing for me that he’s been caught,” says Ham.
As a repairman fixed his broken basement door this afternoon, Ham told WBZ-TV that Goyette would sometimes stay hours — making threats and smoking cigarettes.
“He had a pack of Pall Malls,” says Ham.
Ham says the intruder told him several times that he needed money to pay for his cancer treatments — but police feel certain that story was little more than a ruse.
The aging victim also says Goyette made a promise during his third break-in. “He told me he wasn’t coming back,” says Ham. “But he did.”
With Goyette’s bail now set at $60,000 cash, Bob Ham will sleep much better tonight.
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