Elderly couple bound, held at gunpoint during North Carolina home invasion; FBI investigating

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DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The FBI has issued arrest warrants and released disturbing details in the armed home invasion and kidnapping of an elderly North Carolina couple and the theft of more than $150,000 of their cryptocurrency in April.

The incident took place at gunpoint at the couple’s home the morning of April 12 after thieves allegedly posed as construction workers and forced their way into the home, according to the Durham Police Department and the FBI.

According to an FBI criminal complaint obtained by Nexstar’s WNCN, the incident began when two men, dressed as construction workers, came to the victims’ home around 7:30 a.m. The duo claimed they would be inspecting pipes for damage and told the husband they would be “walking around the house.”

After a few minutes, the pair knocked on the door again and the wife answered the door. The suspects, who allegedly both had guns, then pushed their way inside.

“The men restrained and zip-tied the husband’s hands and the wife’s hands,” the FBI complaint said.

A man armed with a pink gun showed the wife it was loaded by opening the cylinder and then dragged her into a bathroom by her legs, the criminal complaint said.

A pink handgun believed to be used during the home invasion. Photo from FBI.

The husband was taken to his Apple iMac and forced at gunpoint to log in and install a remote desktop application called AnyDesk. A person on the phone with a thief already knew “details about the account without being told,” the FBI complaint said.

The FBI believes the husband’s email account was compromised in the past, allowing the thieves to learn the details ahead of the trip to Durham and the home invasion.

The suspects were able to transfer $156,853 worth of cryptocurrency during the next 45 minutes, the FBI said. Before leaving, the thieves allegedly smashed the couple’s cellphones and the iMac.

The elderly couple managed to get out of their home and ask neighbors to call 911 for help. The pair suffered minor injuries and were transported to a nearby hospital, Durham police said.

The arrest warrants released Thursday for kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping indicate two West Palm Beach, Florida, men are wanted — Jarod Gabriel Seemungal and Remy Ra St. Felix.

According to the FBI criminal complaint filed the same day, the suspects began targeting retirees who had cryptocurrency as early as February. The accused men even had the license plate number for the husband’s car, authorities said. A third man is also named in the criminal complaint, but no arrest warrant was issued for him as of Thursday.

Messages sent between those involved identified actual cryptocurrency amounts and their locations, the criminal complaint said. One suspect had a photo of the husband’s North Carolina driver’s license in his email account, according to the FBI.

The two suspects also discussed in internet messages how potential victims “have so much” money in accounts that it would be “retirement licks” — the FBI explained in the complaint that “licks” is slang for a robbery.

The thieves apparently rented a car in Florida and visited the Millennium Hotel in Durham a couple of days before the actual robbery, according to the complaint. Video from a home near the victims’ showed the thieves’ BMW SUV “conducting surveillance” at the couple’s home each of the three days before the alleged kidnapping, the FBI said.

The FBI also noted that a person driving a similar vehicle purchased costumes — a clipboard, reflective vest, sunglasses and a pair of khaki pants — at a nearby Walmart that allowed the suspected thieves to get into the victims’ home. Both suspects were seen on surveillance video from the store.

Additional details about potential victims wasn’t immediately available. As of Sunday, authorities have not said whether either man is in custody.

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