A North Bay woman is wondering what's happening in this city after becoming a victim of two home invasions by men who are complete strangers.
Valene Hookimaw, 29, told BayToday that this Monday at 3 a.m. a man armed with a baseball bat started pounding on her First Ave. W. apartment door trying to get in.
She had company over and had gone to bed. but awoke to the commotion at her door.
"I was half asleep. I wasn't sure if I was having flashbacks or a nightmare again," (from a previous home invasion).
She immediately called police while her boyfriend started yelling, "You've got the wrong address, get out of here. We have kids here."
But the man continued yelling while trying to open the door and get inside. Valene's boyfriend and sister managed to hold the door shut and lock it. The intruder continued screaming and demanding the return of a tablet. Hookimaw believes the man was after her neighbours.
"It was a pretty crazy night. I can't believe it. It's like being struck by lightening twice," she said. "He was really, really, really aggressive."
Police were on the way.
The intruder was driving a U Haul truck and police made a quick arrest.in a parking lot in the 900-block of McKeown Avenue. A search revealed approximately 0.1 grams of methamphetamine.
Police arrested Richard Brandon Belfitt, 33, of Cache Bay. He is charged with:
- Robbery with a weapon
- Possession of a Schedule I Substance – Methamphetamine
- Two counts of failing to comply with a release order
For Hookimaw, the attempted invasion brought back vivid and traumatic memories of a previous home invasion, again by a stranger.
Just five years ago, at the same address, she was by herself with her two young children, when a man broke in.
She called 911.
"My children, who were two and four, were with him so I was terrified for their safety. He was on a three-day coke binge and I was yelling at him to get out, that he had the wrong place."
That's when the attacker grabbed her son as a shield between them.
"He was swinging a knife around and he assaulted my son and he tackled me to the floor and assaulted me, stabbed me with his knife and tried to knock me out. My kids were terrified. I told them to run and they did. As he was dragging me out of the house and down the stairs police arrived and tazed him a few times before arresting him."
Hookimaw says that attacker wasn't even after anything. "He was just in a drug-induced psychosis."
That attack left her in fear of her safety and the safety of her kids, and this latest episode has made things worse. Add to that the fact that her first attacker gets out of jail in December, meaning he can come to within 100 feet of where she works, where she lives, and where her kids go to school.
She's scared.that he'll be coming around.
"I don't even know if he remembers what happened, so I'm getting more and more stressed out "
Hookimaw says this second incident has pushed her over the edge.
"My PTSD from my first attack has started kicking in. After I dropped my kids off at school and when I got home I was very, very, very angry. I thought to myself 'Don't make any rash decisions. I already have anxiety from 2016."