Disabled man duct-taped to refrigerator, robbed


WINDSOR (AP) – Police said Tuesday they have gathered important evidence and received help from the public in identifying three men who duct-taped a disabled man to his refrigerator and robbed him of as much as $5,000.

Eugene Varney, 43, who uses a wheelchair, was found duct-taped to the refrigerator in his home near state Route 17 on Sunday afternoon by a neighbor, police said. His house had been ransacked and between $2,000 and $5,000 were taken from a safe in the home.

Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty said investigators have received at least five calls from the public about possible suspects, and have gathered DNA evidence, fingerprints, boot prints and tire tracks of the robbers and the vehicle they used. They drove a poorly maintained pickup truck with a tool box in the back.

A neighbor of the victim was alerted by Shirley Varney, 87, the mother of the victim and owner of Varney’s Variety store, which is next to the house where the robbery took place. Varney told police that three men who entered the store prior to the robbery acted suspiciously.

Varney told investigators the men came in and out of her store separately and bought small items. She called a neighbor who went to her house and found Varney’s son bound to the refrigerator with duct tape. The neighbor cut Varney free.

The robbers are believed to have broken into the house through a first-floor window that was found broken, and left the house in disarray.

Liberty said three investigators from the sheriff’s department were working on the case.

“To victimize an elderly woman and her son the way that they have done has made this crime a priority,” said Liberty. “We will find these criminals and prosecute them to the fullest.

Information from: Kennebec Journal, http://www.kjonline.com/

AP-ES-07-10-07 1040EDT