Police honor citizens willing to help
Janice said the guy even stopped, pulled a knife out of his jacket and waved it threateningly at them as they sat in their car watching him. Yeah, it was scary, but they’d do it again, Bianca said Thursday as she and her mom were honored by the command staff of the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Valley Division and City Councilman Dennis Zine. “I told Bianca, `It’s all right, baby. If he takes another step toward us with that knife, I’ll run him over’ – and I would have,” Janice said. The guy must have seen the look in her eyes because he put his knife away and tried to escape. Police arrested him a block away. All because Bianca and her mom didn’t look the other way. Bianca Rodriguez and her mom, Janice, didn’t have to get involved. They could have looked the other way and kept on walking when they saw a man slash through the roof of a convertible Mustang to steal a cell phone and some other items on the front seat. It wasn’t their car. Why take any chances? But they didn’t look the other way. Janice got on her cell to call 911, and while she and Bianca waited for police to respond, they followed the man as, trying to break in, he smashed a window of another car. “Most people who see something like this close their eyes and walk away, never thinking that they could be the next victim of this guy,” Zine said. “They got involved. They didn’t back away. And for that, we thank them.” Last year in the San Fernando Valley, there were 12,000 reported motor-vehicle break-ins. In the past month alone, there were 237 more, says West Valley Division Capt. John Sherman. “It’s the most prolific crime problem we have in the Valley, and it’s on the rise,” he said. Too many people leave valuables in plain sight in their cars and forget to lock their doors or set their alarms, he added. “We need more citizens to help us catch these car burglars. We don’t want anyone putting themselves in danger and trying to make an arrest, but we do want them to call with license plate numbers and descriptions.” Bianca and her mom did a lot more than that on Dec. 16 on Sherman Way in Reseda when they decided not to close their eyes and walk away. So did Carlos Cardova and Gayle Rymer, who were also honored Thursday. Gayle manages a condo complex in Encino, and Carlos is one of her maintenance men. A few weeks ago, Carlos was taking trash out to the bin when he saw a man walking from car to car in the parking area looking in windows. When Carlos asked him what he was doing, the guy ran to a nearby car, where two other men were waiting. Gayle called 911 and joined Carlos following them in his car. Gayle remained on her cell, giving police the location of the men, and they were arrested a few blocks away. Surveillance tape in the parking area viewed later showed the three men tampering with cars for about 20 minutes. “There’s no doubt that if we don’t become proactive, next time we could be the victim,” Gayle said. “It’ll be our car being broken into. “I’m proud of what Carlos and I did. There are three less guys breaking into cars today.” Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. [email protected] (818) 713-3749160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!