19-year-old Austin Community College student Yale Gerstein was chatting on FaceTime with his girlfriend Baylee Luciani in Dallas when he heard a scratching noise at the door to his apartment. When he went up to investigate, three armed men pushed their way in and began beating him. Baylee saw the events unfold on her computer and at first thought it was a joke but quickly realized Yale’s life was in danger. “I was scared,” she told local NBC affiliate KXAN, “because they were saying ‘I’m going to blow your head off, I’m going to kill you.”
Wisely, Baylee began taking screen shots of the incident as it occurred, so she could get pictures of the robbers. Meanwhile her father called 911 who alerted police in Austin. The disturbing images show a battered Gerstein pleading for his life while the robbers put a pistol against his head while Luciani and her dad look on helplessly. The robbers eventually realized the FaceTime video was on and disconnected the computer before stealing it.
Police are now actively investigating the robbery, which they say is an isolated incident. The thieves got away with thousands of dollars worth of musical equipment, as well as the computer which housed an album of music Gerstein had just completed recording. “I had just finished my first album as a solo artist,” he said. “That’s all lost.”