Two friends suspected in several area robberies were arrested Friday in Naples in connection with three violent home invasions.
Their victims included an elderly man, three Golden Gate Estates residents and a woman who once cooked Thanksgiving dinner for one of the suspects, according to Collier detectives.
The first robbery happened Dec. 12 at a home in the 100 block of Viking Way in North Naples. Two men with a semi-automatic gun broke into the home of a 78-year-old man, bound his wrists and ankles, hit him in the head, and stole his car, $135 in cash, a wallet and $3,000 to $5,000 worth of jewelry, reports said.
Deputies found the home soaked with bleach and one of the bedrooms doused with gasoline. The victim was hospitalized twice because of his injuries, according to the report.
Nicholas Robert Chandler, also known as "Red" or "Red Monkey," faces charges of home invasion robbery, kidnapping, aggravated battery on a person 65 or older, grand theft auto, grand theft and arson of a vehicle in connection with the crime.
Deputies later found the victim's jewelry and paperwork inside his car, which was abandoned at 6251 Pelican Bay Blvd. It appeared the suspects had tried to set the car on fire with papers and gasoline, but the attempt was unsuccessful because they did not crack the windows or the trunk to allow oxygen to circulate.
Detectives said they believe Chandler, 23, and his friend Carlos "Lowski" Darren Walker, also 23, were trying to intimidate or steal drugs from the victim's grandson, who also lives in the home. Reports list Walker as a suspect, but as of Sunday he had not been arrested for that particular robbery.
After he was taken to jail, Chandler was accused of a second robbery and slapped with four more felony charges: home invasion robbery, kidnapping, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and grand theft.
Deputies said that robbery took place Jan. 25 around 1 a.m. in the 1400 block of Pompei Lane in Naples. The victim told detectives she was dragged from her bed and slammed on the floor by an intruder who held a gun to her head, covered her mouth and tried to suffocate her.
The man dragged the victim into a closet and strangled her until she lost consciousness, deputies reported. A second intruder referred to the attacker as "Red," which is Chandler's nickname, according to reports.
When the woman awoke, both men were gone and her cellphone was missing, so she went to a nearby convenience store to report the robbery. Reports said she was severely injured and that the attack "could have resulted in her death."
The victim's son, who also lives in the apartment, told deputies Chandler and Walker called him earlier that night asking if he was at home. The victim told deputies she and her son knew Chandler and had cooked him dinner at her home last Thanksgiving because he was homeless.
While processing the scene for evidence, deputies found a rosary believed to be Chandler's and an envelope with Chandler's name and several of his personal items inside it. They appeared to have been dropped during the robbery, according to detectives.
As of Sunday, Chandler remained at the Naples Jail Center in lieu of bonds totaling $640,000.
Like Chandler, Walker also was arrested Friday, although he was charged in separate crimes. Deputies said Walker is accused of a Dec. 22 home invasion robbery in Golden Gate Estates on the 1100 block of 11th Street Southwest.
Two victims, a man and a woman, said they were in their backyard around 11 a.m. when they saw a man with a dark hoodie and a bandanna on his face creeping behind the home in the woods, according to an arrest report.
After threatening them with a handgun, the man tied up the victims inside the home with duct tape and electrical cords, reports said. A third victim was brought throughout the home and told to hand over guns, drugs, money and jewelry.
The victims said there were at least three men involved. They were able to free themselves once the men left and went to a neighbor's home to call for help because their cell phones had been smashed, according to reports.
One victim estimated the stolen jewelry, which included pieces from her deceased mother and husband, to be worth $15,000.
Walker's cellphone was found at the bottom of the victims' driveway, according to an arrest report. The victims also said they heard one of the men refer to the ringleader as "Lowski," which deputies said is Walker's nickname.
Walker faces charges of home invasion robbery with a firearm, grand theft and violation of state probation. He remains at the Naples Jail Center without bond.