GLENDALE — Two accused burglars were caught thanks to the detective work of a 17-year-old Glendale Police Explorer.
The thieves allegedly broke into the vehicle of the parents of the teen on Nov. 3, while they were attending church.
Police say the thieves then made off with the garage door opener and registration of the vehicle, enabling them to locate the house. They then backed their car into the garage and proceeded to knock on the door to see if anyone was home.
“I heard really loud knocking on the door…it was almost like pounding,” said Rebecca [Last name withheld], the teenager who has been a Glendale Police Explorer for the past year. “I was kind of uneasy about that, so I took down the description of the guy.”
Hearing the television and realizing someone may be home, the suspects, Gerardo Ramirez and Jason Wortman, left in a hurry, but not before Rebecca could quickly take down their license plate. At the same time, Rebecca’s parents were also pulling into their cul-de-sac.
“My dad followed them and relayed the make, model and license plate back to me, and they were the same” said Rebecca.
The Glendale Police Department used this information to locate and initiate surveillance on the stolen vehicle.
On Nov. 17, after observing the two suspects driving around to various church parking lots in Sun City, a detective witnessed Ramirez break into another vehicle at a church. At that point, police stopped the vehicle and both men were taken into custody.
Rebecca said she was glad she was home so she could take down the information, but when that knock came, she was a little scared.
But helping stop the thieves was worth it.
“It feels kind of good, to know that I actually helped before they could do the same to someone else,” she said.
Police say both men were charged with three counts of attempted residential burglary and two counts of vehicle burglary.