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Published: Tuesday, 4/5/2011

Home invaders hit, rob man

Victim, 78, had left city because he feared crime

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Erie Township resident Joe Bodi, 78, sits on the bed where he was sleeping when four masked gunmen woke him up, forced him out of bed, and held a gun to his head while they searched for valuables. Erie Township resident Joe Bodi, 78, sits on the bed where he was sleeping when four masked gunmen woke him up, forced him out of bed, and held a gun to his head while they searched for valuables.
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ERIE -- Joe Bodi moved to rural Monroe County in 2003 to escape the drive-by shootings and gang and drug violence that had invaded the North Toledo neighborhood he and his wife had called home for 44 years.

On Sunday night the street crime that Mr. Bodi got to know in Toledo followed him to his new home on Substation Road in Erie Township.

The 78-year-old retired Libbey Glass worker woke up to find four men -- at least one of them armed -- standing over him. Mr. Bodi, who uses a hearing aid, didn't hear the noise the intruders made from kicking in the front door.

"They had their faces completely covered. They had ski masks on," he said.

Three of the suspects ransacked the home while the other intruder kept a handgun pointed at Mr. Bodi, a grandfather of one and great-grandfather of three children.

He said he was held at gunpoint initially in bed while the intruders ransacked the bedroom, and then was ordered to the floor so they could toss the mattress and box springs in search of valuables.

He said the gunman kept him on the floor, moving him from the bedroom to the adjoining hall while keeping the gun pointed at his head.

"It seemed like every time I wanted to do something and get up, he poked with that gun," Mr. Bodi said.

At some point during the home invasion, Mr. Bodi was struck on the head with an object, possibly the handgun, but he said of the bloody cut, "I really don't know how I got it."

Mr. Bodi has lived alone since last October when Mosie, his wife of 51 years, died. Monday, she would have turned 79 years old.

Their daughter and granddaughter live in new houses they built behind Mr. Bodi's.

After the intruders fled, Mr. Bodi said, he crawled on the floor to the living room, using the couch to get up.

He couldn't call police from his house because he doesn't have a phone. He said he wiped his bloody head with a towel, got dressed, and drove his pickup truck to his daughter's house.

Monroe County sheriff's deputies got the 911 call from his daughter, Sue Sorge, about 11:30 p.m., nearly two hours after Mr. Bodi went to bed.

He was taken to Toledo Hospital, where he was treated for the cut to his head.

Detective Heath Velliquette said the home invasion and robbery are under investigation. As of last night no arrests had been made.

The robbers got away with Mr. Bodi's wallet that contained $30 and Social Security card, the keys to his Ford F-150 pickup truck, and a glass jar that the victim believes held about $90 in loose change. The victim's pickup truck, which was parked in the garage, was not taken.

Detective Velliquette said investigators don't believe the intruders are responsible for similar crimes in the area.

"I don't think it is a serial thing. But we don't know," he said.

Mr. Bodi's daughter and son-in-law, Sue and Thomas Sorge, lived in the same North Toledo neighborhood where her parents lived for many years.

She said she thought her father would be safe in rural Erie Township.

She said her father will remain in the house, but it will be equipped with a security system.

"It is quite unnerving to think he was lying in bed, and four men were standing over him with a gun," she said.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.



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