COSTA MESA (CBS) — A man was behind bars Sunday on suspicion of burglarizing a Costa Mesa neighborhood.
The incident in the 2000 block of Republic Avenue occurred about 3:45 a.m., Costa Mesa police said in a department statement.
According to police, a resident awoke to find a stranger in her home.
She alerted authorities and her husband, named Jim Brown, who managed to chase the suspect from the home and capture him a few blocks away with help from neighbors, police said.
The homeowners are parents of four children who were also asleep in the house. Brown suffered minor injuries during a struggle that ensued. The suspect had a broken nose and cuts and bruises.
The group was able to hold the man until authorities arrived. The suspect — later identified by authorities as 24-year-old Gerardo Garcilazo — was taken to an area hospital for treatment.
He has since been booked for burglary, theft and criminal threats, police said.
Amanda Burden, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9 Sunday night, spoke to the block’s brave homeowners and witnesses.
Bob Molina awoke to see three of his neighbors wrestling the suspect. “It was real loud, we were dead asleep cause it was around 3 or 4 in the morning or something like that. And we hear this guy scream, ‘Somebody call the cops, somebody call the cops,’ and he was screaming at the tops of his lungs.”
Adds Molina, “We see these guys hitting him and beating him and trying to hold him down and telling him ‘Don’t get up, don’t get up.’”
Garcilazo was roughed up. “You could tell he had been in a struggle,” says Molina, “he was pretty well thrashed.”
Police recovered Garcilazo’s backpack and, according to Burden, it contained numerous items (gift cards, batteries, cell phones, and a Rolex) stolen from other homes in the neighborhood.
Connor Hughes lives down the block and believes Garcilazo also broke into his mother’s car. “My sister’s suitcase was in there from a trip last night and everything was moved around. It was opened up, there were things that were taken out and put in other places.”
Costa Mesa Police Lt. Mark Manley is glad none of the neighbors was hurt. But, in the future, he urges residents not to take the law into their own hands. “Fortunately, in this case it didn’t end badly. It worked out and neighbors caught the bad guy. We were able to come and facilitate the arrest. In general, it’s not something we recommend.”
Brown, by phone, told Burden he was incredibly grateful to his neighbors for coming to his aid.
Police believe Garcilazo may be involved in other burglaries and ask anyone with more information to call Detective J. Barnes at (714) 754-5198.