PARKESBURG, Pennsylvania - An 88-year-old Pennsylvania woman who says she was able to talk a home invasion suspect out of raping her is telling her story to sister Action News in Philadelphia.
The attack happened in Helen Reynolds' Parkesburg apartment and is one of several home invasions reported recently in Chester County.
In this case, a man posing as an apartment complex worker forced himself inside Reynolds' home and used duct tape to bind her.
"He wrapped it all around my face and my nose and my eye glasses," she said. "He had a piece in my mouth."
Reynolds managed to carry on conversation with the suspect and talked him out of raping her.
"I said to him, 'Well it's like this,'" Reynolds said. "'You might as well know the truth.' I said, 'I have HIV, and my husband died from it,' which is a lie. When I said that, he just walked out of the bedroom. That's the comment that saved my life."
So far, no one has been arrested or charged in connection with the attack. However, authorities have made an arrest in another home invasion that took place four days earlier under similar circumstances in nearby East Brandywine Township.
In that case, a 72-year-old woman was tied up and left in a closet for four days. Authorities say a 17-year-old boy who escaped from a nearby behavioral health facility ransacked the victim's home before returning to assault her. Police finally caught up with him, and he is now in custody, facing attempted homicide and other offenses.
"I have nothing good to say about him," Reynolds said. "Nothing at all. Put him in jail, and leave the sucker there."
Reynolds told us she has great sympathy for the victim of that attack, having lived through something similar herself.
"Bless her heart," she said. "I know I thought of her ever since I heard about her."
While police say that incident in East Brandywine involving the 72-year-old appears to be isolated, authorities are exploring whether the same teen now in custody may have been responsible for some of the other recent home invasions.
Anyone with information about any of these cases is asked to contact authorities.