Intruder Beset by Own Pupils

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 23, 2006

The masked man had a plan.

He would enter the Vienna family's townhouse in the middle of the night, gag them with strips of a towel, bind their hands and feet with plastic ties and then stealthily strip their home of jewels, cash and electronics.

The residents had another plan.

Two 10-year-old sisters, asleep in their beds when the masked man tried to bind one of them, fought and kicked and screamed and bit. Then the parents leapt into the fray, and the intruder retreated with nothing but cuts and bruises.

Yesterday, Andrew Jacobs, 43, admitted in a Fairfax County courtroom that he was the masked man. He was also the girls' karate instructor -- and he apparently taught the twin sisters, who have blue belts, how to protect themselves.

At a minimum, Jacobs faces 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in May.

According to the prosecutor, Jacobs slipped into the family's townhouse shortly after midnight on Oct. 2. A part-time instructor at the Mountain Kim Martial Arts studio, Jacobs told police that he knew his two students lived in the Townes of Moorefield subdivision off Nutley Street.

That night, he was dressed in black and wore a black mask and gloves, said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Marc. J. Birnbaum. He was also carrying an "all-purpose tool" that included a 3- to 4-inch knife blade, the prosecutor said.

Jacobs found a towel in the family's laundry room and used his knife to cut it into strips, Birnbaum said. Then he went into the bedroom where the girls were sleeping. As Jacobs climbed on top of one of the girls and forced a towel into her mouth, she started yelling, awakening her sister, who jumped up to help.

He tried to wrap a towel around the second sister's eyes, then pushed her down, Birnbaum said. As they fought and kicked, the second sister bit Jacobs's finger, Birnbaum said, and Jacobs responded by punching her twice in the eye.

The first sister kept screaming through her gag, Birnbaum said, and their mother and father darted into the room. The father and Jacobs "exchanged several punches" as the struggle moved into the parents' bedroom, Birnbaum said. Jacobs then swung himself behind the father and placed him in an arm hold while the father inflicted a second bite wound, the prosecutor said.

That's when the girls' mother picked up a table lamp and whacked Jacobs in the head several times, Birnbaum said, and Jacobs fled. Photographs of the girls showed they had marks from where one was gagged and one was punched.

Their mother told Vienna police that the intruder's receding hairline and ponytail were like those of "Andy," her daughters' karate instructor. Investigators went to Mountain Kim, got his full name and then visited his house that afternoon.

Jacobs admitted that he had broken into the house. After he tied up the family, his plan was to "first get the small stuff, then go back for the big stuff," Birnbaum said.

During yesterday's hearing, Jacobs told Circuit Court Judge Stanley P. Klein that he didn't go there to hurt anyone and that he didn't even have to break in. The door was unlocked.

Jacobs pleaded guilty to one count of abduction and one count of attempted abduction, which carry possible sentences of 10 and five years, respectively. He entered an Alford plea -- meaning he does not admit guilt but acknowledges that there is enough evidence for a conviction -- to burglary with a deadly weapon. That count carries a minimum 20-year term and a maximum of life in prison.

Jacobs's attorney, Lavonda Graham, asked Klein if Jacobs might be released on bond before his sentencing. But Klein said Jacobs was staying in jail. "This is a horrible crime. He's potentially a danger to the community."

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