Two from Pinellas accused in rampage across three cities

Published March 13, 2007

LAKELAND - A man and woman from Pinellas County have been charged with a Clewiston home invasion that police say was part of a three-city crime rampage.

The attacks began in Bradenton on Saturday morning and ended in Clewiston on Sunday night when one of the robbery suspects was shot and critically wounded by a 74-year-old man.

Police said 20-year-old Luke Irons and 20-year-old Chrisanthe Apergis of Seminole attacked 92-year-old Glenn Billups in his mobile home in Bradenton about 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

The pair doused Billups with pepper spray, beat him, then stole his green Chevrolet Cavalier convertible, which was found abandoned on New Tampa Highway in Lakeland.

Billups was taken to Memorial Hospital.

Late Saturday night, the couple traveled in a stolen car to Lakeland. Police say they broke into the home of Cora Canale of Mas Verde Mobile Home Park about 11 p.m.

Irons dragged Canale out of her bedroom, threw her facedown on the living room floor and hit her in the head and arms, police said.

After searching her home for about 15 minutes, Irons took $20 to $40 from Canale's purse. They also stole Canale's 1999 Lincoln Town Car, police said.

Canale was treated for a head wound at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

About 11 p.m. Sunday, Irons and Apergis, armed with a BB pistol and tire iron, broke into the home of Jimmy Norman, 74, and his wife, Martha, 67.

After struggling with the intruders, Jimmy Norman was able to get a handgun and shoot Irons twice in the chest, authorities said. Irons collapsed in the driveway as he and Apergis fled, police said.

Clewiston police arrested Irons.

He is in Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers in critical condition.

Apergis was arrested and charged with attempted home invasion robbery, burglary and aggravated battery of an elderly person, Clewiston police said. She's being held in the Hendry County Jail.

Neither she nor Irons have been charged in the Bradenton and Lakeland robberies.