Clewiston, Florida

From the Bradenton Herald of March 13, 2007

Manatee home invasion suspect shot in Clewiston

A string of home invasions that started in Manatee County ended when a homeowner shot one of the suspects in Clewiston, authorities said Monday.

Two 20-year-olds, a man and woman, were arrested and are suspected in the Saturday home invasion in Manatee County, where a 92-year-old man was beaten and pepper-sprayed, and another one in Polk County, where an 85-year-old woman was beaten.

According to the Clewiston Police Department, Luke Irons, of St. Petersburg, and Chrisanthe Apergis, of Seminole, armed with a BB pistol and a tire iron, forced their way into the home of two elderly homeowners at about 7 p.m. Sunday.

The suspects struggled with the victims, a 74-year-old man and a 64-year-old woman.

The man broke free, grabbed a handgun and fired twice at Irons, hitting him both times, according to a police report.

Irons and Apergis fled the home, but Irons collapsed in the driveway, where the police found him.

The two are suspected in the Manatee County crime, as well as the similar home invasion in Lakeland on Sunday.

Manatee County sheriff’s investigators on Monday were in Clewiston, a small agricultural town on the banks of Lake Okeechobee, taking statements for charges to be filed in Manatee County incident, according to Dave Bristow, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.

“We extremely pleased there were captured,” Bristow said. “They picked on the vulnerable by preying on the elderly.”

According to a Manatee sheriff’s report, the Saturday attack occurred about 11 a.m., when the 92-year-old victim was in his carport, in the El Rancho Mobile Home Park, in the 500 block of 44th Avenue East, when a man asked to use his bathroom.

The elderly man said OK, but the suspect dragged him into the mobile home and started beating him, according to a sheriff’s report.

During the attack, the man used pepper spray on the victim.

They were charged with attempted home invasion robbery, burglary and aggravated battery of an elderly person.

From of March 12, 2007

Home invasions stopped with gunfire

Cora Canale was in bed with her oxygen going when someone showed up in her bedroom.

“He stood over me and said, ‘Come on, come on, you gotta give me the money,’ and I wasn’t even awake,” the 85-year-old recalled.

What Canale thought was a dream at first became a real life nightmare. The intruder forced her into the living room and pushed her onto the floor next to the sofa.

“I thought at one time he was going to choke me because he stuck a pillow or something across my face. I couldn’t breath and he finally let up,” she said.

She took off her two diamond rings and hid them while he rifled through her belongings.

Investigators say Luke Irons and his girlfriend Chrisanthe Apergia of Pinellas County were behind the robbery at Canale’s and at the homes of two other elderly people over the weekend.

Police say when Irons left Canale’s home, he took her car. He left one he took in a Manatee County home invasion behind.

But after terrorizing older folks in the Bay Area, investigators say he met his match in Hendry County.

Clewiston police say when Irons was breaking into a home there, an elderly man shot him.

“So I hope it would say ‘bad guys beware,'” offered Lakeland police spokesman, Jack Gillen.

Irons is now hospitalized in intensive care. He just got out of prison a few months ago

Updated 03/17/07

It is astounding that a criminal with this kind of rap sheet has served no jail time.

(Or, to see the original, go here and search for Last Name = Irons, First Name = Luke, and then click on his name on the next screen.) (No permalink available.)


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