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CLARKSVILLE — Investigators in Clarksville are narrowing in on leads after an 85-year-old woman was beaten during a robbery at her home in late December.

Clarksville Police Chief Mark Palmer said the woman was attacked sometime between 7:30 and 10 p.m. Dec. 27, after returning to her home at Fairington Apartments on Lombardy Drive, an apartment community for seniors and those with disabilities.

Palmer said it's believed the suspect gained entry through a locked ground-level sliding glass door and was either lying in wait or surprised by the victim's return home during the robbery. The woman was beaten around her head and face, and also suffered injuries around her stomach area, either from the attack or from a fall during it.

She remains hospitalized, although Palmer said she is now in good condition.

"This is pretty much out of the ordinary," Palmer said. "This is a pretty quiet complex...there's maybe a vandalism now and then [but] we don't get a lot of traffic here."

He said while police don't have all the pieces yet, right now they believe it may have been related to a person looking for cash they hoped would be around right after the holidays. The woman's purse was taken, but later recovered by police.

"Because it was so close to the holiday season we're thinking more of a monetary [motive]," Palmer said. "We're not ruling anything out but right now that's what we're looking at because he did go after cash."

Palmer said police have several persons of interest in the case, and hopes that evidence gained at the scene — including potential fingerprints and DNA — can hone in on the suspect.

"With information we're getting...I think that's going to help find the actual person," Palmer said. "But I think DNA is what's going to help convict him."

Since the incident, police have stepped up patrols at the complex on all shifts, Palmer said. They also held a meeting there last week to talk with management about potential ways to improve security, and to talk with residents about things they can do to help one another stay safe.

This includes using the buddy system — telling one another when they leave so others can keep an eye on things. Police also suggested residents form a sort of neighborhood watch.

"So if somebody sees something that doesn't belong, if somebody sees somebody maybe hanging around somebody's property, that they notify law enforcement so we can come and check it out," he said.

Anyone with information in this case is asked to contact the Clarksville Police Department at 812-288-7151, or their local law enforcement agency.

Aprile Rickert is the crime and courts reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at aprile.rickert@newsandtribune.com or by phone at 812-206-2115. Follow her on Twitter: @Aperoll27.

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