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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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Home invasion victim shares her story

Updated 9:34 am, Tuesday, February 11, 2014
  • After fending off a thief in her home Jan. 30, a Darien woman shares her story. Photo: Brian A. Pounds / Connecticut Post
    After fending off a thief in her home Jan. 30, a Darien woman shares her story. Photo: Brian A. Pounds

 

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To any passerby, Michele Kinloch's Priscilla Lane home looked empty just around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30.

There was one car, quietly sitting in the driveway. There was no visible movement from inside the house to suggest that anyone was home.

Inside however, Kinloch, 68, had just come face-to-face with a stranger dressed head-to-toe in all black standing in the middle of her bedroom.

"I said, `Oh my God! Who are you?'" Kinloch recalls. Her "computer brain," as she called it, kicked into gear and she started to think that surely she knew the woman -- a total stranger wouldn't be in her bedroom in the middle of the afternoon.

But then her "real brain" kicked in and she asked the young woman what she was doing in her bedroom. At this point, Kinloch was in only a towel after getting out of the shower before going out with friends later that night.

She then realized the woman, later identified as Alexis Jordan, was a total stranger with a handful of Kinloch's jewelry.

Jordan was just two steps from the bedroom door, Kinloch said, and was standing with her arms apart. In one hand was a black cell phone, in the other, a wooden cigar box full of trinkets -- foreign currency and other things of little value -- that Jordan had taken from Kinloch's son's bedroom.

Kinloch grabbed Jordan's forearm in attempt to stop her. Jordan twisted from Kinloch's grip and hit her in the face with the cigar box on the cheek bone. It was "nothing major," Kinloch said.

With her adrenaline pumping, Kinloch reached for the phone in her dressing room and called 911 as Jordan ran from the room.

Kinloch chased after her -- phone in hand, frantically telling 911 to call the cops -- though the kitchen and then the family room of her ranch-style home.

Through the large window in the living room, Kinloch could see Jordan get into a "stupid, little gray car" and leaving the property.

"I ran after her not to catch her but to see where she was going," Kinloch said. "Was she going into the back woods?"

The officer on the other end of the phone asked Kinloch if she was able to read the plates on the car, but by that time, the car was at the end of the driveway and was driving out onto the street.

Just as Jordan took off down the road, multiple Darien police officers and detectives swarmed Kinloch's house, she said.

She and one of the detectives went outside to examine the tire tracks left by the car. Kinloch said that by the time she and the detective reached the cul-de-sac on her street -- between five and eight minutes after the initial 911 call -- they were notified that Jordan and the driver, Michael Apuzzo, had been stopped on Hollow Tree Ridge Road, 2 miles from her house. Kinloch was asked to accompany the detectives to identify the woman in the stopped car.

"We're driving, driving," Kinloch said. "And then I see the cops and I see the young woman standing outside the car with her arms at her side, like she was in a yoga position. And then I burst into tears seeing her face again. It was a really emotional, emotional, impact. Obviously, the detective knew this was the assailant from that."

Jordan told the officer who pulled them over that she and Apuzzo were driving from Greenwich and got lost. She said they stopped somewhere in town to get directions and that a resident gave her some attitude, but denied getting into a physical altercation with anyone.

Jordan, 22, and Apuzzo, 24, both of 91 Costanzo Court, Hamden, were arrested and were arraigned on charges that include home invasion, possession of burglars' tools, possession of narcotics and first-degree larceny.

Apuzzo is a convicted felon with burglary, larceny and drug convictions on his record, police said.

Inside the car, police found a little over a half-gram of heroin, two Oxycodone pills and needles inside Jordan's purse, which also contained a hammer, pliers and a box cutter. They also found a Tiffany ring with a one carat diamonds worth $15,000 and a diamond gold band with $5,000 that were stolen from Kinloch's home. All of the stolen jewelry was recovered and is being held as evidence at police headquarters.

Jordan later admitted to police that she entered the home and that she was "really tight for money."

Also found in the car was a Pandora bead bracelet, which interested Norwalk police, as well as a tennis bracelet, V-shaped necklace, numerous gold necklaces and the wooden cigar box, according to the police report.

A police report said that Jordan confessed to a Norwalk detective that the two burglarized a home in Norwalk on Jan. 29.

The two are each being held on a $250,000 court appearance bond and were arraigned on Jan. 31. They are scheduled to appear again in court on today.

Kinloch said since the incident, things have changed around her home.

"I now not only lock the door, but we also put the alarm on (when we're home)," Kinloch said. Prior to the break-in the house would only be locked at night or when Kinloch and her husband were out.

"You never think that it's going to happen to you," Kinloch said. "That's why I wanted it to be someone I knew."

Kinloch said the take-away message from the Jan. 30 incident is to lock doors at all times, especially when no one is home.

"It's equally important to lock your door when you are inside," Kinloch said, noting that there isn't anything she would do differently if something similar happened again.

"I don't know what possessed me to pick up that phone," Kinloch said. "I was frantic. I believe that someone was watching over me."

Kinloch knew the situation could have been much worse.

"It's a good ending to a really bad story," Kinloch said.

mspicer@bcnnew.com; 203-330-6583; @Meg_DarienNews

Staff writer John Nickerson contributed to this story.