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Home invasion: Police seek two men in robbery

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A Center Grove area couple were tied up and robbed at gunpoint in their Kenesington Grove home early Tuesday.
A Center Grove area couple were tied up and robbed at gunpoint in their Kenesington Grove home early Tuesday. SCOTT ROBERSON | DAILY JOURNAL

A Center Grove area couple were tied up and robbed at gunpoint in their Kenesington Grove home early Tuesday.
A Center Grove area couple were tied up and robbed at gunpoint in their Kenesington Grove home early Tuesday. SCOTT ROBERSON | DAILY JOURNAL

Two robbers led a woman at gunpoint through her Center Grove area house, having her point out where jewelry was kept in the bedrooms and forcing her to open a safe so they could ransack it for the cash inside.

The robbers walked her upstairs to the bedroom where her husband was sleeping, and she woke him up and told him they were being robbed. The two men bound their hands behind their backs with zip-ties and then went through the house for about 30 minutes in the middle of the night.

When they finally left after 2 a.m. Wednesday, she opened the front door with her hands still tied behind her back and ran to a neighbor’s home in the Kensington Grove subdivision for help.

Now police are asking local residents and businesses to send in any tips or video footage that can help sheriff’s deputies find the two robbers.

How to help

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office is asking for tips or video footage that could help solve an armed robbery in the Center Grove area. Two residents were held at gunpoint and had their hands bound behind their backs as two robbers stole jewelry, cash, watches and coins. Here’s how to help:


Two men, one was noticeably shorter than the other. The men were carrying pistols, described as either revolvers or a .45 caliber handgun. At least one of the pistols was shiny or chrome.

Time and place

The robbery occurred before 2:23 a.m. Wednesday, when police were called in the 5100 block of Chancery Boulevard. The home is in Kensington Grove subdivision, located just southwest of Center Grove High School. The neighborhood has entrances on Morgantown, Stones Crossing and Travis roads. The home that was robbed is located about 500 feet from the Morgantown Road entrance.

Video footage

Police are asking for anyone who may have video recordings in Kensington Grove or the area around the subdivision, especially along Morgantown Road.

Where to call

Anyone with information or video footage should call the sheriff’s office at 317-736-9155 or 317-346-4604.

The crime likely wasn’t a random act, based on information homeowners Hugh and Sharon O’Gara gave police about how the men acted and comments they made during the robbery, Sheriff Doug Cox said. Both robbers appeared calm and told the homeowners they should use their alarm system, which was not on at the time of the robbery, Cox said. Hugh O’Gara even told police one man sounded nice when he spoke to them.

But the robbers also pointed guns at both residents, tightened the zip-ties around Hugh O’Gara’s wrists even more when he said they were too tight and stole several pieces of jewelry and watches as well as cash and coins.

“The fact that they broke into a home and committed a robbery/burglary is not nice. It’s not good,” Cox said.

Police reviewed security video from nearby Center Grove High School, but the video was too low quality to help in the investigation, Cox said. Police don’t have a description of either man, only that one man was noticeably taller than the other.

“We still need the public’s help with surveillance video from the housing addition. Maybe a store clerk who remembers someone suspicious in their store prior to the incident. Maybe someone who has a friend that has come into cash or jewelry and is acting strange,” Cox said in a news release.

Anyone with information about the robbery or video footage from the area can contact the sheriff’s office at 736-9155 or 346-4604.

The two men entered the home in the 5100 block of Chancery Boulevard, just southwest of Center Grove High School, around 2 a.m. Sharon O’Gara, 66, was awake in a bedroom when the door opened and two men carrying pistols walked in, according to the sheriff’s office report.

The men told her to take off two bracelets she was wearing, then bound her hands behind her back with a zip-tie. They asked her where the jewelry was and took several more pieces, the report said.

The men led her downstairs at gunpoint and had her open a safe, and they took cash and other items out of it. They led her back upstairs and had her wake up Hugh O’Gara, 73, who was sleeping in another bedroom. The men bound his hands with zip-ties also.

The two men stole more jewelry, cash and watches from that bedroom. They left the room, and the couple heard the door sensor beep as the men left the house. Sharon O’Gara waited to make sure they were gone before going downstairs, opened the door and headed to a neighbor’s home to get help. Her husband remained tied up at home.

The neighbor called the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office at 2:23 a.m.

Anna Mandelbaum, who lives east of the O’Garas, said she didn’t hear anything overnight and wasn’t aware the house was robbed until she woke up Wednesday morning to find TV crews and police in the neighborhood.

Mandelbaum was surprised she didn’t hear a home alarm going off, only to find out that the couple hadn’t turned it on at night, she said.

“I know that everybody who has an alarm is going to start using it now,” she said.

The robbers told the couple that they didn’t intend to hurt them. The fact that both men seemed calm during the robbery and made comments about the alarm system are leading police to think that the men know or had researched the O’Garas, Cox said.

“They did comment that these guys were fairly calm. They didn’t get easily excited and weren’t tossing them around,” Cox said. That behavior helps lead investigators to the conclusion that the house was not selected randomly, he said.

“Someone did their homework.”

Hugh O’Gara owns two buy-here, pay-here car lots in Indianapolis and also told police that he was recently selling some silver coins at a Johnson County jewelry shop. Police are investigating whether someone may have followed or traced him back to his home, Cox said.

Police are asking anyone with surveillance video to contact the sheriff’s office. Investigators are especially seeking video footage from inside the Kensington Grove subdivision or near Center Grove High School focusing on Morgantown Road.

The home is about 500 feet from Morgantown Road, but the subdivision also has entrances on Stones Crossing Road and Travis Road.

Police found Hugh O’Gara’s cellphone in the road at Nottingham Court. That street is south of the home that was robbed and ends in a cul-de-sac.

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