Police say man walked out of hospital with IV in arm before duct taping elderly couple during burglary
FRANKLIN, Ind. (WXIN) – Franklin police are searching for a man accused of duct taping an elderly couple and using guns stolen from their home to rob them.
The investigation began when police responded to a home on Lancelot Drive around 6:35 p.m. on Monday to investigate a burglary.
A 90-year-old man and his 88-year-old wife told officers that they left their house around 3:30 p.m. When they returned an hour later, there was a man in their home wearing a ski mask and pointing a gun at them.
"He ended up using duct tape that he used from the home, and securing the husband to a kitchen chair and the wife to her walker," said Franklin Police Deputy Chief Chris Tennell.
Police say the man stole three guns and left in the victims' silver 2011 Nissan Altima with license plate #FM8709.
The couple remained confined for about two hours until the man was able to get a knife to cut them free.
"Both are okay," Tennell said. "They do have minor injuries caused by the duct tape on their skin, bruising."
Detectives found fingerprints in the house and they are investigating Reese Keith, 27, as a person of interest. Police say he also uses an alias of Keith L. Reese. He has no connection to the victims, and police are working to locate him.
Keith has a prior criminal history involving drugs, and he was apparently on the run from police even before Monday's burglary.
Greenwood police confirm Keith was suspected of walking away from a crash in a stolen car on State Road 135 Sunday afternoon. After Keith left the scene of the accident, police say he was spotted sitting in a front yard not far away. Officers say they found needles in Keith's pockets and other drug paraphernalia in the stolen car.
Ashley McGrotty, who owns the car Keith crashed Sunday, says it was stolen April 20 from a gas station on the west side of Indianapolis.
"They told me that he was arrested, that he had paraphernalia and syringes on him when he was arrested," McGrotty said. "They told me that he was arrested for false identity statement, for driving my stolen vehicle, and for leaving the crash."
But Keith never made it to the Johnson County Jail.
Greenwood Police Assistant Chief Matt Fillenwarth says Keith began having a medical issue while police were taking him into custody. An officer administered Narcan to Keith and he was taken by ambulance to Community Hospital South. Keith was later released from the hospital and Greenwood police were transporting him to the Johnson County Jail when he began to complain of pain from the accident. Police then took Keith to Johnson Memorial Hospital to be checked out. Reese was cleared to be taken to jail again.
During the second attempt to take Keith to the jail, police say he appeared to have a seizure in the police vehicle. Officers took him back to Johnson Memorial Hospital, where he was admitted for an overnight stay.
Johnson County Memorial Hospital spokesperson Jeff Dutton says medical staff noticed at 4:25 a.m. Monday that the electronic monitors for Keith had flat lined. When they went to check on him, he was gone. They found the monitor that had been attached to him in a stairwell, but it's believed he walked out of the hospital with an IV still in his arm.
The hospital is a short distance from the Franklin home where Keith is suspected of confining and robbing the elderly couple.
Fillenwarth said Greenwood police do not normally leave officers to guard non-violent offenders once they are admitted to the hospital, and Johnson Memorial Hospital does not have a police detention unit.
Franklin police believe Keith found an unlocked access door to the elderly couple's garage after leaving the hospital. They believe Reese hid in their garage for several hours until the couple left for about an hour Monday afternoon.
The stolen Nissan was found Tuesday around noon in the Woodale Terrace Apartments in Greenwood. Franklin police believe Keith may have paid somebody to give him a ride up to Indianapolis, which is his last known location. The three stolen guns were not in the car when it was found. He was last seen wearing a white dress shirt and dark colored dress pants. U.S. Marshals have been called in to assist in the search, and surrounding police departments are also on the lookout.