When the masked man attacked them inside their bedroom in the middle of the night Sunday, the twin 10-year-old girls responded just as they had been taught in their martial arts class: They fought back.
The commotion woke their parents, who rushed in and thought they recognized the tall, ponytailed intruder. The girls' father whacked him with the base of a table lamp and yanked off part of his mask. As the intruder ran from the Vienna townhouse, the parents were pretty sure it was "Andy," an instructor at Mountain Kim Martial Arts studio in Vienna, where their daughters take classes every week, the mother told police.
Hours later, Andrew Jacobs, 42, a part-time instructor at the studio who holds a black belt, was arrested at the brick house he shares with his sister, not far from the girls' home. Yesterday, he appeared in court, with a black eye and bruises on his face, on charges of assault, attempted abduction and burglary. A judge ordered him held without bond.
Capt. Mike Miller, the acting police chief of Vienna, said that Jacobs had taught the twins, who hold blue belts. When they were attacked in their bedroom about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Miller said, "the children responded the way they were instructed to by the suspect" in their training.
"He had attempted to gag one of the 10-year-olds," Miller said, which attracted the attention of her sister. Jacobs told police that he had brought wire ties and a cut-up towel to the house to tie up the residents, Miller said.
There was no sign of a break-in at the townhouse, one of several on a quiet, shaded street in the Townes of Moorefield subdivision off Nutley Street. After his arrest, Jacobs told police that he intended to tie up the residents to "keep everybody quiet" while he stole valuables, including "loose money, jewelry and VCRs," according to a search warrant affidavit filed yesterday in Fairfax Circuit Court.
One of the sisters told police that Jacobs "struck her in the face with his hand and placed one of the [towel bits] around her mouth," the affidavit says. The other girl then screamed, and moments later the parents rushed into their room.
Reached at home yesterday, the mother referred calls about their ordeal to Vienna police. On Sunday evening, the father told a reporter that the family "took care of it" and declined to comment further.
Grandmaster Mountain Kim, who owns the Vienna martial arts studio, said Jacobs has been a student and occasional instructor for him off and on for many years. He said that Jacobs wasn't around for about 10 years but showed up again this summer.
"I thought he was okay. He was not ever real friendly, but I knew him for a long time," Kim said yesterday afternoon as young students wearing white uniforms filed out of a van and into the studio. "It's a terrible situation, and I'm very sad that it happened."
No one answered the door at Jacobs's home, a detached brick house with a freshly mowed lawn and manicured bushes. A blue pickup with the license plate AMJ 4X4 sat at the curb.
Next door, Jennifer Copp, 34, stood on the driveway with her 2-month-old daughter. She said she has known Jacobs for about a year.
"He didn't talk much to anyone or socialize a whole lot," she said. "We knew him only as the man next door. We knew him only as Andy and didn't know whether he had a job. We never saw him leave."
Copp said her husband watched as Jacobs was led in handcuffs from his house Sunday evening. When they watched the news later that night, she said, she "almost fainted."
"Good for them for fighting back. I guess the girls were taught well," she said. If the allegations prove true, she continued, "who else will the family wonder about in their lives? Here was someone who was supposed to be teaching them how to be safe."
Staff writer Nikita Stewart contributed to this report.