SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Authorities released composite sketches Monday in hopes of identifying a group of thieves who burst into a North County jeweler's home, assaulted her and threatened her with a gun before looting the residence.
The victim was alone in her house in the 700 block of Carmel Circle in Vista when two of the burglars, a man and woman, knocked at the front door about noon on Nov. 8.
Following a brief conversation in Spanish, the man grabbed the resident by the throat and pushed her into the home, followed by his female cohort and three other accomplices, sheriff's investigators said.
The intruders forced the victim into a bedroom, where one pointed a pistol at her while the group pushed her to the floor and bound her ankles and wrists with duct tape. When the bandits demanded money, jewelry and gold, the resident replied that there were no such valuables in the house.
The woman later told investigators the thieves -- three men and two women, all of whom appeared to be in their early to mid-20s -- seemed to be communicating with each other with walkie-talkies or similar electronic devices while ransacking her home.
Eventually, after the burglars left her alone, the resident was able to free herself and sneak outside. She then ran to a neighbor's house and made an emergency call. By the time deputies arrived, however, the thieves had fled, taking about $200 in cash and personal checks from the victim's home.
Detectives believe the bandits may have targeted the victim because she and her husband own a retail jewelry business, according to sheriff's officials.
Based on her descriptions, a sketch artist created facial renderings of the first two thieves to arrive at the woman's house.
Anyone with information about the burglary was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a $1,000 reward.
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