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Man Bound 6 Days May Have Hands Amputated : Crime: A worried friend checking on the 72-year-old Altadena resident finds that intruders beat retiree and left him tied up on the floor of his home.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 72-year-old retiree was facing possible amputation of his hands Saturday after assailants broke into his modest Altadena home, beat him and left him bound and gagged on the floor for six days.

James Farrell was in stable but guarded condition at an undisclosed hospital after an operation in which doctors were able to restore some circulation to his hands and were hoping that amputation could be avoided.

Physicians initially said that Farrell, who retired last month from his stock and mail department job with Home Savings, probably would lose both hands as a result of being tied up for so long.

“Doctors feel (his condition) is remarkable considering all that he has been through,” sheriff’s Deputy Patrick Hauser said.

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Three people who had broken into Farrell’s home attacked him as the man, who lived alone, entered the small, white frame house shortly after 8 p.m. on May 7, Hauser said.

Farrell lay beaten and bound on his living room floor until Friday, when a worried friend looked in on him.

The house was ransacked, but sheriff’s deputies were unsure if anything was taken.

Farrell was able to give only a general description of his assailants, but said one of them was wearing a blue uniform-style shirt with a badge. No suspects had been arrested as of late Saturday.

George Winn, a longtime neighbor of Farrell’s, said the area has become tough; he and Farrell have been burglarized several times and there are occasional shootings on nearby streets.

Winn, 77, said he had helped Farrell patch windows with plywood after burglaries because his neighbor was too frail to do the work alone.

Winn said he and Farrell moved into the neighborhood after serving in World War II.

But after 50 years as neighbors, Winn said, he hardly knew Farrell, who kept to himself in the neighborhood but regularly socialized with a set of friends at a cafeteria in downtown Pasadena.

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Managers of Beadle’s Cafeteria, largely patronized by senior citizens, say Farrell had been coming into the restaurant every night for dinner for at least 18 years.

“He was very friendly,” said Rosa Jaime, assistant manager of the restaurant. “He always had a nice joke to tell us.”

Farrell’s friends, as well as cafeteria employees, became worried when he did not show up last week.

Vincent (Gene) Cusic, 78, who has known Farrell for 30 years and regularly drives him home from Beadle’s, went to his friend’s house to check on his welfare about noon Friday.

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Cusic found newspapers on the front lawn, mail in the box and the front door slightly ajar.

“I hollered, ‘Jim, what’s going on? Where are you?’ ” Cusic said.

Farrell, who had managed to chew through his gag, called for Cusic to come in.

When Cusic entered the living room, he found Farrell lying on the floor with his head under a table, but could not tell in the dim light that he had been tied up.

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“What’s wrong?” Cusic asked.

“I don’t know,” Farrell said. “I don’t know where I am.”

It was only after emergency workers arrived that Cusic learned that his friend had been tied up and badly beaten.


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