Blind victim saved in burglary attempt speaks

May 4, 2013 7:43:06 PM PDT
A blind woman says her guide dog saved her from a burglary attempt, and police say the alleged suspect was her neighbor.

It happened around 3:00 a.m. Friday on the 4700 block of Marple Street in the Holmesburg section of Philadelphia.

"She saved my life," the victim said of her guide dog 'Jolanda.'

The 54-year-old woman, did not want to be identified.

Police say several men including 18-year-old Tomayo McDuffy, the victim's neighbor, broke into the woman's home.

The men allegedly turned on the gas and then fled when 'Jolanda' reacted and aggressively barked.

"She takes care of me in case somebody breaks into my house," said the victim.

She says 'Jolanda' was able to get her to a phone and contact police.

"I taught her to call the police. I have a phone for a blind person, she calls 9-1-1 if something happens to me," said the victim.

The victim's neighbor and close friend, who did not want to be identified, says this isn't the first time the suspect bothered her.

"They tried to break in two times before, they tried to poison her dog," she said.

The neighbor also says the woman is a widow of a New York police officer and moved in only a few months ago.

Since then, McDuffy, has allegedly harassed the blind victim continuously.

"It makes me angry, she's a defenseless woman plus she's blind," said the neighbor.

On Saturday, other neighbors who are friends with McDuffy, came to his defense.

"I know it wasn't him who did it. He was with us, we played video games until five or six and then got ready for school," said Gerald Thomas.

According to court records McDuffy has been charged with attempted murder, burglary and other charges. He is in jail on $500,000 bail.

The suspect's brother, who spoke off camera, says he doesn't think his brother can afford the bail to get out.

Authorities are still looking for another male who they believe was involved in the incident.