Bert Heins has been selling jewelry for 25 years.
In this business he says, you expect to be a target.
"We've had a couple break-ins where they've smashed glass and grabbed and run. That can all be replaced."
But last summer, he came dangerously close to losing something much more precious: his grandson Cory.
“Don't go there,” he says, choking back tears. “It was bad."
Cory Heins remembers the night last May.
"Came in, said this is a robbery, had his gun out," he says of the male robber. "Duct-taped our legs, hands behind the back, and even took a strip and put it over our eyes so we couldn't see anything. Then he got our keys and kind of went shopping."
Bound and terrified in the back room for some 20 minutes, Cory made an attempt to close off the robber on the other side of this door.
That's when the robber turned violent.
"We started fighting with the gun and he pulled out some kind of spray. I don't know what it was. Sprayed it in my eyes to get me off of him and then he pistol-whipped me in the cheek. The next thing he said to me is, ‘Now you ‘gotta die.’ So I'm freaking out at this point, I'm telling him ‘You don't have to do this. Take whatever you need, whatever you want.’’
After severely beating Cory, the robber left with some $50,000 in jewelry.
It was about six weeks later, while shopping at a Pickerington Kroger, that Cory says he came face to face with his attacker. And he realized, the robbery wasn't the first time they'd met.
"I stopped dead in my tracks as I see this couple walking. It just clicked. That's the guy that robbed us. Once I get a look at him, I remember he starts to look familiar. And I know I know him from somewhere, and it comes to mind that I played basketball with him and hey, I went to school with this guy, too!"
This week, a federal grand jury indicted Darnell Harris, 25, and his sister Mariah Harris, 19, in connection with the robbery.
"I feel like they're rotten sons of b*****s. If you'd have seen what they did to my grandson, you'd have thought the same thing,” said Bert.
Both suspects, who are from Canal Winchester, appeared before a federal magistrate on Friday.
Darnell was arrested during a traffic stop in Pickerington, and Mariah surrendered to Reynoldsburg police.
They were indicted on federal obstructing interstate commerce charges.
They face up to 20 years in prison.
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