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Man Escapes Robbers in Scranton

SCRANTON — Scranton police have a violent home invasion to solve.

Investigators believe two people broke into a home this morning and threatened to kill a 70-year-old man.

Police are still looking for those two robbers who they say burst into a home in Scranton’s Green Ridge section very early Tuesday morning. Police say the robbers tied up the man, but he was able to make an escape, and that could have saved his life.

John Benzelenski answered a knock at his door at 2:00 in the morning at his house in Scranton’s Green Ridge section. What happened next led to nearly an hour of terror for the 70-year-old man.

It was a man and a woman armed and in ski masks on the front porch in the middle of the night. According to police, the pair barged into the home demanding money.

When Benzelenski resisted they tied his hands behind his back, threatened to kill him or cut off all his fingers if he didn’t cooperate.

Newswatch 16 was unable to contact Mr. Benzelenski. But, neighbors who know him couldn’t understand why he’d be the target of such a crime.

“That really bothers me because there’s a lot going on in the world today, drugs, criminals, a lot of different things, but people who mind their own business don’t deserve to be brought into that world,” said neighbor Jeff Mikranz.

Mr. Benzelenski, who neighbors say did mind his own business, told police he cooperated with the two robbers as they rummaged through his house and eventually they untied him. That’s when he made his move.

After 45 minutes inside, Benzelenski was able to escape out a side door. He ran across the street and onto his neighbor’s porch. But, when the robbers noticed he was missing they came after him.

The male robber started fighting with Benzelenski, and when a neighbor heard the commotion she called police.

In the end, the two robbers only got away with $38 and the victim’s cell phone. But, the night’s events have neighbors shaken up.

“It’s scary, makes me scared living here,I have two kids, I don’t want anything happening in my house,” said Amanda VanValen.

“I think it’s crazy, I don’t know what the world is coming to I really don’t. Bad things happen everywhere and it’s so close to home,” added Jackie Krouchick.

Police wouldn’t tell Newswatch 16 if they believe the robbers and the victim may have known each other. But, as to whether or not they have any lead. Cops just said that this case is “solvable”.


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