UPDATE 7/29/14 @ 6 p.m.
GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A 79-year-old woman fought back against a man who pushed his way into her home and robbed her. It happened in Gallia County in the community of Bidwell.
Two men have been arrested, and investigators said they're also believed to be involved in at least one other robbery from overnight.
Constance Evans said it was early Tuesday morning when she got a knock at her front door in Bidwell.
"Asked him what he wanted, and he said he had run out of gas. He wanted to call his wife, and I said, 'Well, wait a minute. I'll let you use my cell phone,' " Evans said.
But that moment of kindness turned into a struggle.
Gallia County Sheriff's deputies said Ryan Kauff pushed his way in and demanded money.
"Too late in the month for money," she said.
So she said Kauff went for something else.
"He seen my diamonds and he started twisting them off my fingers," Evans said.
Those diamonds were rings bought by her late husband 55 years ago.
At that moment, Evans said he ran out the front door and started banging on her windows.
"He might of did it to scare me," she said.
So she came back outside to tell him to leave.
At that point, neighbors noticed.
"I'm running down the road screaming and hollering, 'Get off of her, leave her alone, leave her alone,' " said neighbor Beth Williams.
But, Evans said Kauff ran back inside her house.
"I kept telling him, 'Get out of my house, get out of my house, get out of my house, I don't like strange men in my house,' " she said.
Evans said the two started struggling again.
"I start biting him, doing all kinds of things, then finally I decided, alright I'm going to let him have these rings and maybe he'll go," Evans said.
And he did.
Sheriff's deputies said he was spotted in two other areas before he and Kenneth Clark were arrested in connection to the thefts.
"The elderly around here, the ones we do have, they're precious and we want to keep them," Williams said.
But Evans said this scary situation is a lesson for everyone.
"You should give in a bit, but then fight, too, for what's yours," she said.
Evans said she's thankful for her neighbors and their help. She said their comforting words kept her calm after the men got away.
Early Tuesday morning, she was reunited with the very special rings that were stolen.
The Gallia County Sheriff’s Office says the robbery happened at the elderly woman’s home along Payne Street in Bidwell overnight.
Ryan Kauff, 30, of Middleport was arrested about four hour later and charged with two count of aggravated burglary, one count of burglary, and three counts of theft.
Ray Clark, 56, of Bidwell has been charged with receiving stolen property.
The Sheriff’s Office says the victim told deputies that right before 1 a.m. she heard a knock at her door and saw a person standing on her front porch. She did not open the door, but asked the person (Kauff) who they were and what they wanted.
Kauff said he needed money for gas. When she said she didn’t have any money, he then asked to use her phone.
Deputies say when she opened the door and to hand him the phone, Kauff pushed her back and came inside the house demanding money.
Following a scuffle, investigators say Kauff took out the front door only to return and attack the woman again, this time taking the rings off her fingers.
Following that call to 911, dispatchers received a call about a prowler at a residence on SR 160. While at that house, deputes found footprints’ leading into the woods near River Valley Middle School.
Dispatchers then received a third call about a burglary in progress at a residence in the immediate area. Deputies say Kauff had broken in the house and stolen a large flat screen TV.
Deputies say they then brought in a K-9 and followed Kauff’s trail to the 14000 block of SR 544 where he was arrested.
All of the stolen items have been returned to the victims.
Both men are being held in the Gallia County Jail.
The Gallia County Sheriff’s Office says it happened at the woman’s home in Bidwell.
They say rings and other items were taken.
The names of the two people in custody have not been released.
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