Portsmouth home invasion victim recounts frightening incident

Elizabeth Imbriaco

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth woman tells 10 On Your Side she answered her door on what seemed to be a normal day. She then came face-to-face with a man and his ‘large black’ gun. The person who robbed her is still out there, and this all happened in broad daylight.

Larry Carney/WAVY
Larry Carney/WAVY

The victim spoke to 10 On Your Side about how a few minutes seemed like forever. Elizabeth Imbriaco, 66, describes herself as a Christian woman who reads the bible every day and who prays every day. She is now thanking God that she’s still alive to tell WAVY the story.

God is everywhere at Elizabeth Imbriaco’s home on Clifford Street. There’s a statue of Mary at the Well, and Jesus welcoming all who are weary, and Imbriaco will tell you God was in her home protecting her during a home invasion-robbery.

She is very graphic and precise in remembering exactly what happened shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday.

“He reaches behind him and pulls out the biggest gun I have ever seen in my life,” she said. “And he says, ‘If you don’t do what I say, I’m going to blow your [explicit] brains out.’ And I said, ‘Sir don’t talk like that I am a Christian. I’ll give you anything you want. I’ll make you breakfast.’ He said, ‘Look lady, this is no fun and games, I need money.'”

Here’s what Imbriaco says happened: “There’s a knock at my door, so I get up. I said, ‘Good morning. How can I help you?’ He told me, ‘My car broke down. Can I use your phone.’ and I said, ‘Sure.'”

The suspect then turned away from Imbriaco who said, “Would you like some coffee, sir? I just made some.”

She tells WAVY, “He reached behind and he pulls out this gun. I mean a big gun. The biggest gun I’ve ever seen. He pointed it right here at my forehead.”

Elizabeth stayed calm while he dumped her pocket-book. She says he took three or four checks, and two credit cards. “He said, do you have any money? I got a black change purse in here. I have $15-25 dollars in there because I don’t keep a lot of cash,” she said. “He said to me, ‘Take off your rings.’ Well, my hands were so swollen I couldn’t get the rings off. He said ‘I’m going to cut off your fingers.’ And I said, ‘Please don’t cut my fingers off.'”

He orders her to the bedroom where her Shih Tzu ‘Sophie Grace’ is barking, but is unable to get off the bed. He told her, “I’m going to kill that dog.” Elizabeth says she responded to him, “Please don’t. He can’t even drop off the bed.”

She then makes her way down the hall. “As I’m coming down the hall towards the bedroom, he pushes me from behind. He had the gun to my back, and walking me back to my bed room. He shoved me and my glasses fell off. I couldn’t get my bearings so I hit my rapid response,” she said.

At the same time she tells the suspect her son will be home in five minutes, she claims the suspect then yelled to an accomplice in a blue car, “We got trouble…I’ll be out in a minute.”

She remembers hearing him calling the name “Beau” or “Boo.” The suspect then fled the home.

Elizabeth has a Rapid Response Medical Alert System due to a bad back and spine problems that cause her to frequently fall.

“I kept hitting the button. I then heard them call on the phone, and I heard the lady say, ‘Are you OK?’ I said, ‘Help me! Somebody has robbed me. I think they are going to kill me.'”

Then there was another knock at the door. “I thought it was the man coming back. I started screaming, and the fire department  came in and said ‘Where are you?’ And I yelled, ‘I am here in the hallway. Help me!'”

Elizabeth was taken to the hospital for high blood pressure and some anxiety from the event, but it’s very clear on what the suspect looks like. She describes him as a tall African-American man who is at least 6 feet 5 inches tall.

“I know that because when he came in, I only reached his underarm. I could fit under his underarm.”

She also said the suspect had a gold tooth in the front of his mouth and was wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers shirt and hat. He had orange suede sneakers that were not fully laced, and he had a mustache.

The blue get-away car had a noticeable dent in the rear side, and there was a small spare tire known as a baby tire on the car.

If you have any information about this crime, please call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP℠.

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