FORT WAYNE – As he has done for more than 70 years, Kenneth Spillers was repairing bicycles Tuesday. He was trying to keep his mind off what had happened the day before, but it wasnt working.
Im just shaken to death, the 85-year-old said as he took a break.
Early Monday, Spillers was home alone in the basement of his ranch-style house in the 3600 block of Knoll Road on Fort Waynes southwest side, when he heard a knock at the back door, according to a city police report.
It was a young man who said he needed to use the phone to call for help. Spillers let him in, and they started talking about Spillers bicycle repair business, the report said.
Spillers took him into the basement to show him some bikes, and when they walked upstairs, a man in a white mask came into the house holding a black gun, the report said.
Spillers said the masked man told him repeatedly, Ill kill you, Ill kill you, but if you do what I say, Ill let you live.
I said, I dont want to die, Spillers recalled.
The robbers used their own black duct tape to bind Spillers wrists and ankles as he sat in a chair. Once he was tied up, they ordered him to lie on the floor and stay put, he said.
As one robber kept a gun trained on him, the other robber, along with a third man Spillers did not see, ransacked the house. They took a diamond ring, rolls of collectible quarters, cash in his wallet and more cash they found in a bedroom, according to the report.
Before leaving with the loot, the robbers gave Spillers a pair of scissors so he could cut himself loose. They also said they would phone 911 so help would come, but it was Spillers daughter and grandson who contacted 911 after Spillers cut himself free and phoned them, the report said.
Spillers said he did not recognize the two robbers he saw. He described them as white men wearing black clothing. One was about 23 years old, 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, with brown hair; the other was about 6 feet tall with a white mask. Police have no suspects, the report said.
On Tuesday, Spillers sat in a lawn chair, his hands covered with bicycle grease. He pulled up his sleeves to show that his wrists were raw from where the robbers had wrapped the duct tape.
He was sore, but alive.