Neighbors help nab suspected car burglars, Orange County cops say
Website alerts neighbors about local crime
Two suspected car burglars were arrested on Thursday after neighbors used social media to help Orange County deputies catch the culprits.
Deputies said a neighbor at the house across the road from where the attempted burglary took place called police and informed her neighbors of the incident immediately via website.
Residents in the Preserve gated community said that the burglars had them feeling exposed and vulnerable. The suspects were caught on video jumping over a fence early Tuesday morning, then disappeared under the cover of darkness as they broke into several cars, until they were spotted.
“The police came right out. They had helicopters here, they had the whole nine yards and they caught them,” said Frank Salley, resident of the Preserve.
Police responded to the incident within 10 minutes, and Jan Velezvargas and Luis Montanez Jr., are facing several burglary charges.
Salley said that he found out about the burglaries on Nextdoor.com, which is a website his neighborhood has been using for months to track crime and share information with one another.
The website is also how Shelley Soltis, another Preserve resident, found out about the recent arrests.
“It's ridiculous that people come and steal off of hardworking people, and nothing's for free; so I hope they pay the price,” Soltis said.
These neighbors said that criminals thinking of targeting their neighborhood shouldn’t dare, because people are watching. The residents are looking out for one another, so they aren’t an easy target.
Deputies say when the burglars jumped the fence, they had dangerous weapons with them, making their charges a first-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.