BOCA RATON, Fla. -- In the middle of a hot, rainy night in July, a man and woman lying in bed heard a knock at the door.
It was 2:55 a.m. on July 12, on a quiet stretch of suburban road in Boca Raton, when Sarah Pastor got out of bed, walked through the apartment on Palms Way and opened the door. What she saw next could have been ripped from a low-budget Hollywood thriller:
A person in a "Killer Clown" mask and black skeleton T-shirt towered over her, flanked by two men toting crow bars.
The masked man, later identified by police as 39-year-old Sherard Ali, peeled back the clown face and showed his own to the scared woman at the door.
"Get out of the house," he told Pastor, who later told deputies she knew the man. that Ali lifted his mask so she wouldn't be scared.
Pastor then ran away. The men rushed inside, through the apartment and to the bedroom where Pastor had been in bed with 56-year-old Jeffrey Zimmer, who is currently serving a 3-year probation for burglary and assaulting an elderly person in Broward County.
The men grabbed Zimmer and wrapped his head with a bed sheet. They bound his hands and feet together with plastic zip ties. They threatened to kill him.
They went to the bedroom closet.
There, Zimmer had bolted a large Magna safe to the floor.
Inside: 120 Klonopin prescription pills, 6 Movado watches worth $5,000 and a brown, leather wallet holding $240 cash and credit cards.
The men used the crow bars and busted the bolts. They then grabbed the safe and dashed through the apartment and out the house. A getaway vehicle was parked out front, and the men loaded the safe and took off.
When Zimmer freed himself from the plastic ties, he called police.
But the men were long gone.
It wasn't until about a month later, on Aug. 17, that Deputies showed Pastor a photo line-up of several men.
Pastor looked at the faces and didn't hesitate.
She identified the Ali as the man who peaked his face from beneath the killer clown mask and told her to get out of the apartment.
Deputies caught up to Ali on Aug. 24 and arrested him on charges of home invasion, masked robbery and false imprisonment.
It is unknown how Pastor knew Ali or if Zimmer knew Ali.
Pastor's mother told the Sun Sentinel Wednesday that she was no longer on speaking terms with her daughter, who was arrested for cocaine possession in 2011.
Zimmer, who was reached by telephone by the Sun Sentinel Wednesday, did not wish to comment for this story.
And Ali, who has been arrested six times since 1999 on charges including cocaine possession, fraud and driving on a suspended license, remained in the Palm Beach County Jail Wednesday with no bond.