Residents who live near where a terrifying home invasion took place are shocked after one of their neighbours was allegedly attacked by an assailant who hid in the basement of the victim's home for 18 hours.

Police and paramedics were called to a home in the 3000 block of Fairway Street S. for reports of a fight between an elderly woman and a man at about 7 p.m. on May 22.

Upon arrival, emergency crews discovered a 75-year-old woman who had been badly beaten inside a garage. She was taken to hospital for treatment for several broken bones in her nose and unspecified head injuries.

In their investigation, police learned a male broke into the woman’s home sometime in the early morning hours of May 21 and stayed the night in a downstairs bedroom while the woman was asleep upstairs.

Police say the man spent 18 hours inside the home while the victim went about her routine, unaware of his presence.

Shortly before the attack occurred on May 22, the woman heard a noise, went to investigate and discovered the suspect, who was wearing a mask.

Officials say the man then punched her several times in the face, knocked her down and dragged her into the garage where he continued to beat the victim, this time with a bicycle.

The male fled the scene in the victim’s vehicle.

He was later caught by another police officer who was investigating an unrelated matter and spotted the stolen vehicle.

'Oh my God, not here,' residents say

Many residents who live in the housing development say the news of one of their neighbours being hurt is "frightening."

"Especially with all the older people in here. You know we have neighbourhood watch and always look out for each other," said Doreen Varzari. "It’s really scary especially since that it happened at 9:30 at night when it's still daylight out."

Adam Hall Hobkirk-Onate, 21, of no fixed address in Ottawa, has been charged with assault causing bodily harm, housebreaking and commit robbery and disguise with intent.

He is expected to appear in court on May 27. Authorities say he is unknown to the victim and has no ties to Lethbridge.

Acting Insp. Pete Christos with the Lethbridge Police Service says the case is "highly unusual."

"In my 18 years of service here, I've never seen a crime such as this where the circumstances are where somebody is in their home and anybody is awaiting to confront them."

He's glad that officers were able to make the arrest in a very short time.

"As soon as the traffic stop was initiated, he complied with all commands."

Christos says the suspect had only been in the city for a few weeks for employment.

He adds a situation like this is shocking not just for the victim and her family, but the community as a whole.

"We still feel that the city is quite safe. Our members work vigilantly to attend calls for service and we're pleased we were actually able to apprehend this individual in such a short time."

The victim was released from hospital and is now being cared for by members of her family.