WINDERMERE, Fla. – Windermere police are still looking for three men who held up a homeowner and his partner while dressed as ninjas last Tuesday night.
For the first time Wednesday night, the homeowner of the multimillion dollar home on Lake Butler Boulevard that was robbed, spoke about the terrifying hour he was held up in his own home, bound and at gunpoint.
Bill Kitchen still calls himself lucky though, escaping the home invasion with only a bruised hand from being tied up.
"Anything can be replaced except your life," said Kitchen.
Kitchen said he and his partner, Camilo Espinel, had just gotten home from having dinner at a restaurant on Sand Lake Road. Kitchen said they pulled into the garage and when they got out to shut it and go inside, three men confronted them, held guns to their faces and tied their hands behind their backs.
Kitchen said he and Espinel were then lead inside the home and ordered to point out valuables. At times the robbers put pillow cases over their heads. Kitchen said the ordeal lasted for about an hour before the "ninjas" stole his red Mercedes and took off. Police recovered the car not far from the home.
Kitchen said he struggled to break his hands free and then cut Espinel's zip tie. He said the landline to the home was disabled by the burglars and they immediately stole their cellphones. Espinel attempted to call 911 on Skype but when that didn't work, he posted for help on Facebook. Kitchen then ran to a neighbor's home across the street for help.
But Kitchen said while lying on the ground still zip tied in his own home, pointing out his valuables on command and at gunpoint, he was already thinking about how to react to it all.
"When bad things happen, you can either ask yourself, 'Why did this happen to me?' or you can ask yourself, 'Now that it has happened, what am I going to do about it?'" said Kitchen.
While investigators still search for the armed burglars, Kitchen is thinking about what he could've done differently and suggests everyone do some online research on home invasions and limit what you put online.
"I now realize it's pretty silly to tell everybody in the world that I'm on a Hawaiian vacation or we're at this restaurant, or that restaurant and having a big time with our friends. It's just little things like that, that exposed our household. We're going to change a little bit of the way we think about things like that," said Kitchen.
In light of all this, Kitchen is working on bringing a home security expert to Windermere to give some advice to his neighbors. He is also adding more surveillance cameras and cutting the bushes around his home because he believes the burglars were hiding there waiting for him to come home.