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'It could have been so much worse': What a woman did to stop convicted felon from robbing her home

Martin County Sheriff’s Office arrests Dana Ellis Tuomi
Posted at 10:54 PM, Jun 06, 2024

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Robin Elia said she’s still recovering after finding a man going through her jewelry box inside her bedroom on Tuesday afternoon.

She told WPTV reporter Ethan Stein she continually screamed at the man until he left her house in the Little Club community in southern Martin County.

Elia said she previously saw him outside her house on a bench before she left the home. She came back and found the man in the bedroom.

She was scared to talk on camera because she felt he’ll come back to their house.

Michael Ciocci, who spoke to WPTV on camera, said he “couldn’t believe” his wife’s story and raced back from work to find the police at their house. He said the worst part is another man scaring his wife.

“Just him making her feel like that makes me angry at him,” Ciocci said. “That’s all I can say on TV. I’d like to see him again. That’s what bothers me the most that he probably scared her.”

He said neighbors are starting to lock their doors in their neighborhood after the incident.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office said it arrested Dana Ellis Tuomi, 52, in the incident. Detectives were able to identify him as the suspect after a number of residents offered up their exterior video footage, which captured images of Tuomi.

The agency’s Connect Martin Crime Prevention Exterior Camera Registry, helps detectives to know which homeowners would willingly view their security footage to see if any of the crime was captured on tape. The footage, according to the department, would voluntarily be provided to detectives if people enroll in the program.

“I think without neighborhood cooperation and the evidence we got from video, it would have been a while, if we’d be able to solve it if at all,” said Sheriff William Snyder.

According to documents from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect matching the description was seen on security camera footage walking to another home a few blocks from Elia’s home. It then obtained a search warrant for the home where it found objects belonging to the victim.