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Lake Forest intruder uses light to distract victims

June 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A home invasion burglary in Lake Forest took a violent turn. As authorities search for the intruder, the victims are speaking out about their ordeal.

Any little move is painful for Frank and Marilyn, who are only being identified by their first names because they're afraid after what happened inside their home just after midnight Wednesday. Marilyn said she heard someone yell and woke up to see a strange light in her backyard.

"I saw this flashing motion and I didn't know for sure what it was and I kind of got up and stood and I looked at our back windows and there's flashing going on. I was like, 'What is that?'" said Marilyn.

Marilyn said an outdoor motion sensor light then went off.

"I opened the door and was hit with such force to knock me down onto the tile floor. I flew from at least 5 or 6 feet," said Marilyn.

The intruder then rushed past Marilyn. Her husband tackled him twice while their 26-year-old son and 32-year-old daughter tried to subdue him.

"Once we started showing more force on our end, he then says, 'Well I guess I'm going to have to get more violent with you guys.' That's when I backed off," said Frank.

The man then took off, leaving Marilyn with a broken toe. Both she and Frank also suffered lower back pain, cuts and bruises. Deputies arrived to find a strobe flashlight taped to the back fence.

"They also observed some glow sticks. They were taped and attached to a pair of black gloves," said Jim Amormino with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities allege evidence points to Jerrel Gower, who they are calling a suspect. He is wanted for burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, felony assault and misdemeanor assault.

"He's known to frequent libraries in South Orange County, mainly Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills," said Amormino.

Court records show the 57-year-old served time for battery in 2010. He also has a warrant out for an unrelated drug charge last February. Gower is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs about 250 pounds.

"I want this person taken in before he hurts somebody worse," said Marilyn.

Anyone with information was asked to call authorities at (714) 628-7170.

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