A couple who owns a store in east Hialeah was assaulted at gunpoint by a masked man who broke into their home a half-mile from their business.
The assailant surprised Joaquín Valdés, 73, and Herminia Jiménez, 79, in their home in the 700 block of East 45th Street on Monday morning, stealing about $12,000 from them, according to the victims.
“A man put a gun to my wife in our backyard and then entered the house while I was watching television,” Valdés said. “The man took a couple of small suitcases containing approximately $12,000 that I was going to take to the bank.”
Valdés, owner of El Gibarito at 4805 E. 10th Ave., confronted the thief and was beaten on the head and the face.
The case is under investigation, Hialeah police spokesman Eddie Rodríguez said.
Here’s what happened, according to the couple:
Around 7:30 a.m., Jiménez opened the kitchen door to go into the adjacent laundry room when the armed man assaulted her. After tying and gagging her, the man forced her into the house, then into the bedroom where Valdés was.
“[Valdés] turned to the thief, but the man knocked him down twice,” Jiménez said. “My husband was beaten repeatedly on the head. The man began asking us for money and jewels, and that if we didn’t tell him where they were, he was going to find them anyway, and if we lied to him he was going to shoot us.”
Valdés said he had the cash at the house temporarily and had planned to deposit it in the bank later.
The thief grabbed the suitcases with the money and ran away. The elderly couple ran out of the house screaming for help. Neighbors called 911.
Valdés and Jiménez said this is the third time they have been assaulted in their house in the last three years. After the last attack last year, the couple installed surveillance cameras. And neighbors have asked the police to increase their patrol in the area.
The Hialeah police headquarters is about half a mile from the home.
Anyone with information about the case can call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 305-471-TIPS (8477).