ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Four people have been arrested after breaking into an elderly women's home while wearing clown masks back in early December, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies said on Dec. 1 the group broke into the woman's East Orange County home wearing masks and armed with a sledgehammer.
"Fortunately, they did not harm her physically, but they robbed her of thousands of dollars’ worth of valuables," the sheriff's office said.
Authorities said 23-year-old Melissa Martinez, who was involved in the crime, knew the victim because she had recently worked as a caregiver for the victim's late husband.
Deputies said Shakira Rivera Colon, 26, Jaydie Cintron Mayoral, 24, and 42-year-old Nelson Cruz Medina were also involved.
Orlando's WKMG spoke to neighbors who said they want stronger background checks for caregivers.
“For it to be a caretaker, that is supposed to be somebody to take care of others,” resident Edwin Ortiz told the news outlet. “Where is this world heading to?”
Ortiz says his neighborhood has since banded together to further protect themselves.
“From there on, we as neighbors exchanged numbers, and we’re keeping a neighborhood watch,” Ortiz said.
All four were arrested on charges of home invasion robbery and grand theft. Martinez and Medina also face charges of dealing in stolen property and false verification of ownership for pawning the items they stole from the victim, the sheriff's office said.
Martinez, Mayoral and Colon were previously arrested in Polk County and will be extradited to face their charges, WKMG said.
"We are grateful for the tireless work by our Robbery and Felony squads to apprehend these thieves and seek justice for the woman they victimized," the Orange County Sheriff's Office said.