Crime

Teen jailed in Key West home invasion robbery

A 16-year-old boy was arrested Thursday night after police said he burst into a Key West home in the middle of the night with a gun and stole an Xbox and cash from three men living there.

Alijah Aliiku Helmar, a student at Key West High School, faces felony charges of robbery, home invasion with a firearm, battery and grand theft, Key West police spokeswoman Alyson Crean said.

Police on Friday were still searching for a second suspect they believe teamed with Helmar for the Old Town home invasion that sent one man to the hospital with a broken nose and a gash to his head.

About 3:20 a.m. Wednesday, a 29-year-old resident of an apartment at 1101 Petronia St., a large house across from the city cemetery, said he was awakened in his bed by a man demanding money and when he tried to get away, the intruder put him in a choke hold, according to police reports.

"I didn't see anyone, it was dark," the man said Friday in a phone interview. "I can't remember if my eyes were open. I don't know who it was."

The struggle roused a roommate who ran into the bedroom to help but was smacked in the face, knocked to the floor and struck again in the head, police said.

The blows left the 25-year-old roommate unconscious and in a puddle of blood next to a gun police said was left by the attackers.

A third roommate, 20, who had made a run to the nearby Dion's, said he watched two suspects leave the house and get into a white four-door sedan with slightly tinted windows.

Stolen from the apartment were an Xbox gaming console, a backpack containing cash, a pair of prescription Ray-Ban sunglasses and other personal items totaling about $575, police said.

Police did not release the home-invasion incident report with its daily reports Thursday, saying it remains an ongoing investigation.

The 29-year-old resident, who works seven days a week at two jobs, said this was the second time he's been robbed in Key West. He added he hopes police conduct a thorough investigation.

"I don't want the wrong person to go away for something they didn't do," he said. As for he and his roommates, he said they were doing OK Friday given the circumstances. "We're alive," he said.

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