By CLIFF DUNN
Part 2 of a 2-part Series
WILTON MANORS – In the aftermath of his nearly three-hour ordeal with a man whom he says held him against his will in his own apartment, Robert Jacobs, a seeingimpaired part-time resident of Wilton Manors, describes a twilight period of anxiety, confusion, and conflicting emotions which ended in a restless sleep after being held against his will after a home invasion.
As we reported in last week’s Agenda (“Violent Predator Assaults Sight- Impaired Man”), a local drifter and suspected hustler who was known to Jacobs by voice (and who we’ll call “Jim” for the sake of this article), met the Boston-native in the early morning hours of March 17, as Jacobs returned home from a visiting a friend a few miles away in Fort Lauderdale’s city limits.
It was the beginning of a harrowing experience, recounted in the May 3 Agenda (the complete story can also be read online at floridaagenda. com/2012/05/03/violent-predatorassaults- sight-impaired-gay-man). Following Jim’s departure at around 5:30 a.m., his victim fell into a fitful sleep that was broken by the ringtone of Jacobs’ iPhone.
“I went to sleep and woke up when the phone rang,” Jacobs relates. When the phone rang a few hours later, it was mid-morning on March 17—St. Patrick’s Day—but Jacobs was anything but cheerful. Jim’s violent assault had left Jacobs’ ribs badly injured and bruised, and it was with both relief and shame that Jacobs answered the phone and relayed the events of the past few hours to a sympathetic friend. That person came to Jacobs’ apartment, where he found his sightless friend demoralized and injured. Although another friend, who is a doctor, came to check on Jacobs’ injuries, the victim was more interested in reporting the crime to the Wilton Manors police.
Unfortunately, Jacobs felt his complaint was not being taken seriously when he first reported the crime. It was only after the detective currently assigned to the case, Det. Biagio Balustreri, learned the details of Jacobs’ ordeal, that he began to be heard. “He overheard the original detective and asked to be assigned,” remarks a grateful Jacobs. “He called me and said ‘I want to hear your story,’ and he did—e interviewed me for over two hours and took down every detail.”
According to Jacobs, the man we refer to as Jim is well known to the case detective as someone with a history of preying upon vulnerable men. “Look at the guy whose apartment he took me to before he came to my place,” Jacobs says about the man who referred to Jim as his “master.”
Although he wouldn’t comment about an open case, Wilton Manors Police Chief Paul O’Connell advises that anyone out on the city’s streets after dark must be judicious in whom they are engaging. He also told the Agenda “I’m a firm believer in the ‘wolf pack’ theory. Travel like a wolf. Travel like a pack.”
Jacobs himself is looking forward to the prosecution of Jim. Because of the peculiarities of Florida law, Jacobs—as a sightless man—s not eligible for the state’s criminal law definition of an “eyewitness.” “This is why anyone who has any information about being attacked, or held against his will, or threatened by a person who sounds like [Jim], should contact Wilton Manors Police,” urges Jacobs. “We have to help them put this guy away.”