Grandmother tied up during violent robbery; suspect charged after trying to use stolen credit cards

By Phil Archer - Reporter

HOUSTON - Judy Zruber is a 75-year-old grandmother who teaches religion classes at St. Martin’s Episcopal School.

She said she came home from grocery shopping Saturday to find a burglar ransacking her house.

"His first words out of his mouth were, 'Where’s the money?'” she said the man said.

Zruber told the man she only had $10 with her, but he was convinced she had more.

"He grabbed, and I objected, and he forced me onto the floor, and I was going after him with my feet when he kicked me in the ribs," Zruber said.

Angry, the burglar forced Zruber into a back bedroom and tied her to a chair with a telephone cord.

He was convinced she had more money because he found a safe in the house.

Zruber told him that she didn’t keep cash in it and it was full of important papers, but he didn’t believe her.

When she wasn’t able to remember how to open it, he became even angrier.

"In his frustration about the safe, he tied the cord around my neck, and he choked me,” she said. “He would threaten to kill me and I would ignore it.”

Unable to carry the safe out of the house, the burglar finally left the home with Zruber’s wallet. He left her with bruises on her right arm and neck, but not seriously injured.

She freed herself and called the police.

Within a couple of hours, the suspect tried to use her credit cards at a nearby drug store and a gas station.

Zruber was able to identify the man from the store's video footage.

He’s in jail now.

Zruber’s Christian charity extends just so far.

“I feel sorry for him, but I don’t feel that sorry for him. I feel sorry for me too because he hurt me,” she said.

Houston police were in the process of filing charges against the suspect Wednesday afternoon but declined to release his name.

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