A 60-year-old California insurance salesman who works out regularly had a heck of a surprise for a burglar, punching him out and holding him until police arrived, later stating, “I went Mike Tyson on him.”
Oak Park resident Sal Mercado, returning from the grocery store, arrived at his home Friday night and noticed an SUV parked on the street in front of his house with a man wearing a Dodger cap sitting inside, as The Acorn reported. Mercado surmised later that the two burglars inside the house exited when he arrived because they were in radio communication with the getaway car.
As he approached his house, one burglar just inside his home ran out. Mercado recalled, “He starts to go through the side of me to get out of the house, but I went BAM with the right cross, and he went down onto the grass of the front yard, picked himself up and ran to the car.” The car sped off with the driver and first burglar inside.
Then the second burglar, identified as Alexis Provoste Aranguiz, holding jewelry and electronics, started to exit the home. This time Mercado was more successful. “I just didn’t give him a chance, just hit him, because first of all, I don’t know if he has a gun, a knife, any kind of weapon, right? You just don’t know. Your mind goes crazy,” Mercado told KTLA. He echoed to ABC 7, “He came at me … I didn’t know if he had weapons before anything could happen. I just went BAM with the right, BAM with the left … I went Mike Tyson on him. He stumbled then he fell on the grass coming out of the house.”
Mercado tackled Aranguiz and yelled for neighbors to call 911. He said, “Our neighbors were all out, I’m yelling ‘Call 911,’ my glasses went flying … The only thing I didn’t think about was, the getaway car got away by this time.”
Still, Aranguiz managed to get free. Mercado said, “I tackled him and shoved him into the bushes on the side of my house again. The way I tackled him … grabbing his arms pulling them back, pin them on the back, and then put my full weight on his head, but he was all bloody and my whole arms were bloody.”
Aranguiz, who is allegedly part of a burglary ring from Chile, is now in custody, charged with two felonies. Capt. Cameron Henderson of the Ventura County Sheriff’s office admitted, “We see these Chilean burglary crews coming in, and it’s become pretty common in the last three to four years.” Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Ashley Barrios said, “They’ll typically case neighborhoods in advance and see ways they can get in and out.”
Mercado told ABC 7, “The thought was, ‘I got this guy. I’m going to catch him. I want to make sure he gets prosecuted. I want to make sure I hold him down until the cops get here, because our government is not doing enough to fight crime.’ My mentality was, ‘Don’t let this guy escape.’” He noted that three patrol cars arrived within minutes, adding, “Kudos to the police department. They were there like that,” snapping his fingers.
Mercado concluded, “I was very fortunate and blessed that there were no weapons.” His wife Denise said, “We are all very terrified of the situation. They were very brazen to come on a Friday night. I’ve lived here for 30 years and there’s never been anything like this.”
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