Men robbed of their clothes in Cortez home invasion

CORTEZ — Friends Edward Smith and Ian Smith said they were watching a survival show on television Friday morning when an intruder barged in with a real life-or-death scenario.

Strip and hand over your wallets or take your chances with this pistol.

The Smiths complied, and the home invasion suspect escaped from the Cortez home with their clothes and wallets, they said. The wallets contained about $200, according to the Smiths, who are not related.

“When something like that happens, it’s so much different than you would ever expect,” Ian Smith, 26, said about 90 minutes after the incident as a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office detective investigated. “Your mind pretty much just goes blank. You just pretty much go into auto-pilot mode and just what you hear you try to do.”

A sheriff’s office report said at 9:30 a.m. Friday a man opened an unlocked screen door in the front of the home in the 4500 block of 101st Street West. He pointed a pistol at the two men before taking their clothes and wallets and escaping in an unknown direction.

The suspect was described as being thin and standing about 6 feet, 1 inch tall. He was wearing a ski mask, gloves and long-sleeved shirt, the report said.

The sheriff’s office responded to a 911 call with deputies and a K-9 unit, but the suspect escaped capture.

Edward Smith, a 34-year-old fisherman, called the suspect a “rookie criminal.”

“A guy walked in with a gun, wanting money, saw we didn’t have any, took our wallets and left,” he said.

The home is owned by Carol Smith, Edward Smith’s mother. Ian Smith, a carpet installer, was visiting the house at the time of the incident.

The suspect told the Smiths to lie on their stomachs as he left or he would shoot, they said. Neither man considered trying to fight off the intruder. They said the incident left them more angry then frightened.

“When it comes down to it, clothes, wallet, money can all be replaced, but a life, you only get one,” Ian Smith said.

Edward Smith owns a young pit bull, Zeus, but it was not at the house when the intruder arrived because it was breeding.

“He was down the road, trying to get his groove on,” Ian Smith said.