Man says violent home invaders took $10,000

Joesmir Caceres, 21, was pistol-whipped in his face and the back of his head during a home-invasion robbery in his house on Friendship Street near Frontenac in the Castor Gardens section of the city about 3 a.m. Sunday, June 10, 2012. He required stitches for the gashes under his right eye and on the bridge of his nose, and metallic staples on the back of his head.Photographer: Julie Shaw
Joesmir Caceres, 21, was pistol-whipped in his face and the back of his head during a home-invasion robbery in his house on Friendship Street near Frontenac in the Castor Gardens section of the city about 3 a.m. Sunday, June 10, 2012. He required stitches for the gashes under his right eye and on the bridge of his nose, and metallic staples on the back of his head.Photographer: Julie Shaw
Posted: June 12, 2012

Joesmir Caceres, his wife and their 11-month-old son were sleeping in their upstairs front bedroom in the Castor Gardens section of the city early Sunday when they were violently awoken by one of three robbers who twice slammed a pistol into Caceres' face and then pistol-whipped the back of his head several times.

Another thug, also armed with a gun, hovered over the wife's side of the bed, while a third ransacked the couple's two-story brick, standalone house on Friendship Street near Frontenac, finding more than $10,000 in cash.

That prompted the first robber, who was pistol-whipping Caceres, to yell for more money, Caceres said. He spoke in Spanish during an interview Sunday afternoon in his home, where he and his family had moved into just two Saturdays ago.

"I said, ‘I don't have more,'" he replied.

Police said that during the pistol-whipping, the robber's gun fired, striking the ceiling.

That thug then pulled down Caceres' pants, Caceres said, and tugged on his testicles, threatening to cut them if he didn't get more money.

Caceres, 21, who owns a money-transfer business in Hunting Park, is one of the latest business owners in the city who appears to have been targeted in a home-invasion robbery.

It was about 3 a.m. when the thugs somehow opened a first-floor front window that had been locked, Caceres said. He and his wife, Kissayris Salcedo, 21, said they couldn't see the robbers' faces because the men covered the couple's faces with the pillows they were sleeping on. The man who pistol-whipped Caceres also pistol-whipped Salcedo's right knee and the top of her head, she said.

As their baby, Joe Gabriel, cried in his nearby crib, the robber closest to the wife handed the baby to her. The other, who had pistol-whipped her husband, shouted: "If you don't shut up the baby, I shut up the baby!," Caceres said.

Police said the robbers tied Caceres and his wife with plastic tape.

Although they couldn't see the robbers, the couple said they could tell that the two thugs in their bedroom were from Puerto Rico because of their accent, and that the third, roaming the house, was from the Dominican Republic.

Caceres and Salcedo, who came to Philadelphia from the Dominican Republic two-and-a-half years ago, don't know the men. But they believe the thugs have been watching them.

One accused Caceres of closing his business an hour earlier on Saturday.

After Caceres, whose head was bleeding onto his mattress, told the thugs he didn't have any more money, one man found the keys to Caceres' BMW outside and ransacked it, but did not find anything of value.

After the men left, taking the $10,000, jewelry and three cell phones, Caceres called police. He and his wife were treated and released at Aria-Torresdale Hospital, police said. Caceres got two sets of stitches, under his right eye and on the bridge of his nose, for his face wounds. Metallic staples were needed to close the wounds on the back of his head.

Contact Julie Shaw at 215-854-2592 or shawj@phillynews.com.

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