Home Intruder Caught and Beaten, but Questions Abound

A Foothill Ranch break-in ends badly for an intruder.

By Martin Henderson

A break-in in Foothill Ranch had people talking after a resident caught the intruder in his home and gave him a whipping in the driveway. But it also had law enforcement officials puzzled. 

The Jan. 14 incident took place shortly after 3 a.m., when a 17-year-old girl in the home awoke and screamed after discovering a man in her room.

According to the blotter of the Orange County Sheriff's Department, the intruder attempted to grab the girl.

After hearing the girl scream, the suspect fled but was caught by a family member at the front of the house. The suspect was detained in the driveway while the daughter called 9-1-1. Deputies arrived within six minutes. 

Carlos Humberto Chavez Perez, 28, was arrested after being taken to Saddleback Hospital for facial injuries, apparently the result of a father's wrath. He has been charged with residential burglary, child annoyance, unauthorized entry of a dwelling and battery.

Perez is in custody. After an enhancement for fear of Perez being a flight risk, bail was set at $250,000.

The blotter indicated a witness saw the suspect dropped off at the house by a vehicle—with a burned out front headlight—that drove away. 

According to OCSD Sgt. Jason Keller of Lake Forest police services, the part of the story that has law enforcement scratching their heads is the incident is consistent with normal boyfriend/girlfriend drama common to such calls, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Neither party has indicated knowledge of the other and investigators can't find any connection between the man and the girl 11 years his junior. 

Making the incident more confusing is the intruder went specifically to the upstairs room of the girl after entering the home.

"There's no indication it was random," Keller said. "There's no indication he's a burglar in the area. It's not a neighborhood that typically has nighttime burglaries. Why did he go up the stairs and go past these two bedrooms, and go into that specific bedroom?"

The 9-1-1 call originated at 3:10 a.m. from Touraine Place.

Editor's note: Article originally posted Thursday, 4:52 a.m. Updated to clarify and emphasize the victim and suspect are not boyfriend and girlfriend, and to source the information.
Jeanne Mangielli Madrigal January 31, 2014 at 11:54 AM
This poor girl must be traumatized, prayers sent for her healing to get through this. Please don't loose focus of where to place your energy. She will need people to get through this as well as her parents. Thank god she is not hurt or worse. Put your energy into keeping this predator off the streets. This coming from someone who stumbled upon this article and who is not familiar with your community at all but see how close and how many people care about this girl. Take care of her and god bless her dad for protecting her. You are a true hero!
Lisa Wittenberg January 31, 2014 at 03:46 PM
Prayers to the entire Harris family from the Wittenberg family! I'm so sorry this happened and apparently continues to happen to you. This just breaks our hearts! Godspeed!!
Marie Frisbie February 04, 2014 at 01:07 PM
It's a good thing this thug did not break into my home or they would have been taking him out in a body bag my daughter is my gift from God and I take her wellbeing my job
Donna Fleming February 04, 2014 at 04:55 PM
An amazing story. The guy is dropped off at a specific residence. Breaks in (somehow), goes up stairs to girls room. Girl starts screaming. Guy runs out of the house and father beats him up until sheriff can arrive. A woman above said they should take this seriously. He may have tracked this girl on the internet. Wierd and scary. Can't believe they released him.
Mo Ho February 11, 2014 at 05:26 PM
Martin, what's the status on this case? When is he suppose to appear back in court, or did he already fail to appear? Did the D.A. file criminal charges?


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