Quick thinking 77-year-old woman escapes home invasion

A 77-year-old woman arrived home from a funeral to find a suspect waiting inside her Sterling Heights house.

"He's just a low-life, that's what he is," said neighbor Bob McLaughlin. "She was a rock. I couldn't believe it. She had her head together. She did all the right things."

Theresa Wozniak has lived on Brownlea Drive near 14 Mile for roughly 50 years and says she's never had any problems. That day changed, though, when she came home Nov. 29 to change her shoes to run errands after the funeral.

Wozniak says she barely made it to the hallway when she noticed a large man holding what she says looked like a black stick.

"I looked at him but my eyes were just focused on that club," she said. "Because I kept thinking it was going to come down on me."

The man told her to hit the floor and she says the man then demanded cash.

"He said, 'Where's the cash? You old people have cash,'" Wozniak said.

With only piggy banks on her bedroom dresser, she noticed her home was already ransacked.  Wozniak waited for his back to turn.

"I didn't know if he was going to step on my back, hit me with that club; all I knew was that I had to get out of there," she said.

The man was distracted filling a pillowcase and Wozniak took off running into the street, barefoot. Wozniak says she wasn't even thinking, she just kept running and then spotted a neighbor working outside.

"I couldn't believe what was happening when she told me," said McLaughlin. 

McLaughlin called 911 and gave Wozniak some boots to wear. She described to him how that robber also offered to call 911 while she lied shaking on the floor.

"He goes to her, he goes, 'Are you having like an asthma attack or something?' And she said, 'I don't think so.' And he said, 'Well if you do I can call 911 for you before I leave,'" McLaughlin recounted to us. 

"He's just a low-life, that's what he is," he added. "She was a rock. I couldn't believe it. She had her head together. She did all the right things."

Police arrived but the large man, described as a black man in his 40s wearing dark clothes and a knit hat with an orange and yellow stripe, had taken off. A wedding ring and five pairs of earrings were stolen. That man is still on the run.