published Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Home invasions reported in Catoosa County

Jae Yu describes the way two men bound his mother's hands together when a home invasion that took place in his parents' home.
Jae Yu describes the way two men bound his mother's hands together when a home invasion that took place in his parents' home.
Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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    Catoosa County, Ga., Sheriff Gary Sisk
    Photo by Tim Omarzu.
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RINGGOLD, Ga. — The robbers brought gifts.

When 60-year-old Jung Yu peeked through the front door of her Grant Drive home, she found a man holding packages. She thought he was with UPS. She opened the door.

"She just tries to be kind and do what she is supposed to do," Jae Yu said of his mother, an immigrant from South Korea who speaks little English. "Usually, when someone delivers a box, she answers and they give it to her. It's a normal routine."

But this incident wasn't normal. After Jung signed for the package, the man pointed a pistol at her. Then a second man emerged from the bushes, also holding a pistol.

Inside, they bound the hands of Jung and her 70-year-old husband, who goes by the name Bill. The robbers taped the couple's mouths shut and put pillowcases over their heads.

Then, Jae Yu said, the men went straight to Bill and Jung's closet. They knew what they were looking for.

•••

Tuesday's robbery was the second such break-in in two days in Catoosa County. According to a news release, two men with similar physical descriptions broke into a house on May Street in Rossville on Monday afternoon.

According to the release, one of the men who robbed the Yus is about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and slender. He is black, has short hair and wore a black ball cap, a dark shirt and a lightweight jacket. His partner is slim and about 6 feet, 2 inches tall.

As of press time Wednesday, no one had been arrested.

The Yus' home is about 2 1/2 miles from the May Street house, and the sheriff's office says it has increased the number of patrol cars in the area to crack down on any more crime.

A woman at the May Street home declined to comment Wednesday, and Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk did not return multiple calls seeking comment.

•••

Jae Yu , who was not home at the time of the robbery Tuesday, says the men who robbed his parents had been there before. About three months ago, the couple returned from church to find their hardware tools on the floor of their bedroom, in front of the closet.

Pieces of the wall had been chipped away, and a small safe had been beaten up. But the robbers, whoever they were, couldn't get it open. Not this time.

About a month ago, at 7 a.m. on a Sunday, Jae heard his brother's Rhodesian ridgebacks barking in the backyard. They usually only bark when people are around, and when they continued to make noise for several minutes, Jae went outside to shut them up.

He found them standing next to the fence, barking at a man crouching on the other side. He wore a full jumpsuit, his face covered with a mask.

"What are you doing here?" Jae asked.

"I'm just trying to find a place to rest," the man said.

"I don't care. My dog's going crazy. You just need to go away right now."

The man left. Looking back, Jae thinks this man was staking the place out, waiting for the Yus to go to church again.

This week, the robbers came on Tuesday. After binding Jung and Bill, the robbers went to the closet, but they didn't find anything. The Yus had gotten rid of their safe and taken everything valuable out of the house. The robbers flipped mattresses and pulled out drawers but found nothing.

"They were returning for that safe and nothing else," Jae said. "They didn't take any valuables from the house. They were here for cash, nothing more."

When they couldn't find the safe, Jae said, the robbers began to hit Jung on the arm with the butts of their guns. Finally, Bill offered them his wallet, and they left with $500.

Jae said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is examining the wallet for fingerprints.

He doesn't know why his family was targeted in the first place. Nobody, not even family members, knew about the safe. And even if the robbers cracked it open, they wouldn't have found anything valuable in it, at least not to them.

All it held was the Yus' immigration paperwork.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or tjett@timesfreepress.com.

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