Victims of Home Invasion Speak out about Ordeal

By KBJR News 1

April 5, 2012 Updated Apr 5, 2012 at 8:13 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - As Michael Schmidt rushed home after hearing a burglar had robbed his home, he remembers his greatest concern was with his son.

"My little 17–month–old boy was left screaming at the door here, while his grandmother was thrown up against the wall. This is a heroin addict who was at a dead end—who knew his number was up," said Schmidt.

Now, Schmidt has three main concerns. One—the emotional recovery of his son: "I think he's getting over it, but the boy still, kind of, gets upset if he hears creaking noises upstairs—which is where the robber was."

Two—the emotional and physical recovery of his mother, Cathy Schmidt, who—while trying to apprehend 36–year–old Thomas Baker as he attempted to flee from their residence at the 2700 block of Branch Street—was slammed against the entryway wall.

"He pushed her as he was trying to get away. She did have some bruising, and she was pretty shaken up from the assault," said Seargant Chad Nagorski, of the Duluth Police Department.

And three—the recovery of a camouflage backpack that Baker allegedly stuffed with priceless items, including a computer containing family photos, before being apprehended by police.

"It had a lot of precious baby pictures that I hadn't backed up recently, irreplaceable events we've had in the last year, and a few other personal items which have no use to anybody except us, and we would dearly love that back," said Schmidt.

Accodring to Schmidt, no one is certain as to where the backpack ended up: "It could be either in Lake Superior—he either threw it in, dropped it in—or, he threw it in the bushes north of the stairway near Perkins, on the Lakewalk."

But Schmidt claims the backpack could also aid the police, as it may contain additional evidence of other burglaries. Other investigations have led authorities to believe that Baker is a repeat offender.

"His bag was jam–packed with goods. So, it may not be all of our goods, and it could be very helpful for other crimes in the city to be solved as well if this bag is retrieved," said Schmidt.

...searching for evidence, while a family searches for closure.

Authorities urge anyone who may come across the camouflage backpack to contact the police immediately.