A 70-year-old man was beaten and robbed by an acquaintance, and left to burn to death before a neighbor came to his rescue. The suspect is 20-year-old Omar Romance-Lomax Martin. The victim is Clarence “Skip” Kakert. The two reportedly knew each other before the incident, according to Fox News.
A neighbor heard Kakert screaming for help. Chad Corby ran to Kakert and cut him loose, saving his life. “He was on his front porch, screaming for help,” Corby told WSLS 10. “He was tied and bound, covered in blood. He told me somebody came in, asked to borrow some money. He told them he couldn’t do it. They didn’t like that answer, proceeded to beat the [expletive] out of him, bound him, threw him in his tub, and caught his house on fire.”
Police responded to the fire meant to kill Kakert, at 1:50 a.m. on Aug. 8, in Roanoke, Virginia. Kakert’s home is near Virginia Western Community College. Police said that after ransacking the house, the suspect poured liquid inside and then set it on fire, according to WSLS 10.
Kakert had several lacerations on his head when police arrived. He was sent to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Police said his injuries are not life threatening, via a later WSLS 10 report.
“The fire was scary enough, but to see him covered in blood and the thought that someone would try to rob and kill him was unreal,” said Corby, to WSLS 10.
Kakert is affectionately known as “Skip” by neighborhood friends. He is considered a kind person and helpful to others. He once gave his DVD player to a local resident who didn’t have one.
Omar Romance-Lomax Martin is wanted on arson and malicious wounding charges for the incident.
Crime is up 10 percent in the entire state of Virginia, based on statistics that give the total crime outlook for 2016 across the state. Murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault statistics rose from the previous year, according to the report by the Virginia state government.
Roanoke experienced a 35-year low in crime before last year, according to The Roanoke Times. Roanoke Police Chief Tim Jones attributes the rise in crime to the opioid epidemic that is troubling many parts of the nation.
Roanoke City Councilman Bill Bestpitch also addressed the issue. “As long as we have opiate abuse in Southwest Virginia, and Roanoke being a metropolitan hub, we’re not going to see this problem go away,” said Bestpitch via The Roanoke Times.