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Homeowner walks in on burglars and is sexually assaulted

James Romaine, 22, and a 16-year-old boy were charged with sexually assaulting a Park Forest homeowner after she walkied in on the two burglars Credits:   Chicago Police Department
James Romaine, 22, and a 16-year-old boy were charged with sexually assaulting a Park Forest homeowner after she walkied in on the two burglars
Credits: Chicago Police Department

She arrived home around 10:30 to find two strangers in her home. The Sun-Times reported late yesterday that the burglars, one armed with a gun, beat and sexually assaulted the woman then forced her into her vehicle.

They then drove her vehicle around and eventually released her about two blocks from her home, police said.

Early Friday, police found and arrested James A. Romaine, 22, of Park Forest, and a 16-year-old. Both were charged Sunday with one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault and home invasion, police said.

The Chicago Tribune reports that they are expected to appear for bond hearings Monday, according to a release from Park Forest police. The teen was expected to have his case transferred from juvenile court and charged as an adult.

Home robberies happen everyday in safe and not so safe neighborhoods, but it isn’t very often that the owner comes home and encounters the thieves. When it does occur the results can be fatal, as in the case of Kelli O’Laughlin. She died from multiple stab wounds inflicted by the burglar.

What would you do if you came home and found your door open, or signs of the lock being forced?

Ask your friends what they would do if they suspected their residence showed signs of forced entry.  Would they walk in and have a look around? 

Police advise that if you sense something just isn’t right as you enter your residence quickly back away and call 911 immediately and be a good witness.

What are some of the signs of a break-in?

1. The door is open and you know you closed and locked it.

2. You see scratches or marks on the doorjamb.

3. Broken glass outside the door.  Even if the window in the door appears fine keep looking.  Many times older apartments have transom windows above the backdoor, which can be broken or forced open.

4. An open garage door, especially if it is attached to your home.

5. Vice marks on the doorknob, where the lock is built into the doorknob itself.  These types of locks are not very secure.

If you see any of these signs do not go in the house.  Move away and call 911.

You can sign up for Act in Self Defense classes at:

If you are interested in a Personal Safety/Self-Defense Class for you, your high school, college, business, or organization contact me at

Ed Kress
For over 40 years Ed Kress has been an instructor and student at the Degerberg Academy of Martial Arts, named "Best Overall Martial Arts School” worldwide by Black Belt Magazine. Master Fred Degerberg awarded Ed his 7th degree Black Belt in 2015. Growing up on Chicago’s Southside, Ed learned early in life to pay attention to his surroundings in order to avoid potentially dangerous people and situations. With the help of local law enforcement officers and directors of campus security, Ed developed a program focused on personal safety on the streets, and as it relates to the high school and college experience. Ed has trained thousands of adult men and women as well as high school and college students to improve their personal and situational awareness and, when necessary, how to physically defend themselves using their brains and a wide variety of martial arts techniques.

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