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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.
OC mom of boys January 24, 2014 at 11:30 AM
If neither admit to knowing each other and no connection could be made then why do they believe it is a boyfriend girlfriend matter? This article doesn't even make sense when you read it because it's not factual. Sounds like gossip. Also, if it were her boyfriend and he's that much older then her, he should be in jail for child molestation! She would STILL BE A VICTIM! Out of curiosity, why was he arrested again the next day??? And, your article is also wrong because he was released from jail yesterday.
Jane Duh January 24, 2014 at 01:07 PM
Hey OCSD, rather than take the easy way out and do nothing more with this case, why don’t you try to see what else he’s done? Get an order for his DNA and upload it to CoDIS now rather than after he’s convicted. Pull his cellphone records for as far back as you can and map them, then pull all the burglaries, prowlers, and suspicious persons where’s he been to see if they are him. Refer this case to the Sexual Assault Vertical Prosecution Unit of OCDA so this guy will get the maximum, not a slap on the wrist. If you’re unwilling to do the work, then refer this case to an agency who will. Stop messing around, its guys like these who become serial killers.
MR. PIVO January 24, 2014 at 01:28 PM
author Martin Henderson writes -> "the incident appears to be normal boyfriend/girlfriend drama" This is ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE ... please check your facts Mr. Henderson ... your article is irresponsible and its tone diminishes the severity of this crime. As others have stated, your article makes little sense and sounds like gossip. Journalism 101 = Check Your FACTS!
Kathleen Cook January 24, 2014 at 01:48 PM
please re check your facts I am along time family friend .. This info is so wrong you need to get your fact straight. THIS IS A CRIME ......
Laura January 24, 2014 at 02:06 PM
If neither party has indicated knowledge of the other, why would the writer of this story include this misinformation to make the reader think this has something to do with "boyfriend/girlfriend drama." Martin Henderson, please write factual articles in the future, this poor family has already been through enough!!!
Angela Harris January 24, 2014 at 02:12 PM
This is the mother of the victim and I can tell you that Martin Henderson has NO idea what he is talking about. He did not check any of his facts. The only thing that is accurate in his story is the time 911 was called. The suspect is not currently in jail he is out on bail and the bail amount that has been stated in this story is incorrect. Nobody dropped him off, his car was parked on our street. The facial injuries were not caused by the "fathers" wrath and I can assure you that this was NOT normal boyfriend/girlfriend drama as he insinuates in his story. Unfortunately, I cannot give details but there is so much more to this case than he knows. It is this sort of irresponsible, so called journalism that not only interferes with an on going investigation but could jeopardize the safety of my daughter. My family has chosen not to go to the media for this very reason. Martin Henderson never contacted any family member to check his facts nor did he log on to the ocsd.org site, which is public knowledge, to check any of his facts. If he did he would have reported differently. He is giving this community a sense of false safety. This suspect is a predator and he is out on bail. Martin Henderson, check your facts!!!! I left Martin Henderson a voice mail this morning but have not received a response as of yet. It doesn't seem fair that on top of everything we are going through that we have to wake up to this article. I have always counted on The Lake Forest Patch for my local information. After this I will always question the accuracy of their stories.
Annie G. January 24, 2014 at 02:55 PM
good job angela--truth always shuts the rambling down
Martin Henderson (Editor) January 24, 2014 at 03:12 PM
The story is based on a combination of two things, spelled out in the article: the blotter (ocsd.org) and conversation with Sgt. Keller. The blotter clearly references a vehicle with a broken headlight, the suspect dropped off, and the subject taken to the hospital with facial injuries. The log CAN be very cryptic at times, but this info was included in the public record. The lack of connection between the victim (your daughter) and the suspect is what makes this case so unusual and why it took so long for additional information to be released—it was being compared with other investigations; the article indicates the earmarks of a boyfriend/girlfriend situation (i.e., a father catches a boyfriend in her bedroom) that is commonly encountered by police but "neither party has indicated knowledge of the other and investigators can't find any connection between the man and the girl." The prevailing question, as posed by Sgt. Keller, is why did the suspect choose that particular room? I did not identify your family in the story. The suspect may have posted bail after my conversation with Sgt. Keller. At least one of your neighbors who wondered why this story wasn't written about sooner was to reach out to you on my behalf to tell your story but, as you indicated in your comment, you weren't interested in talking to the media. I returned calls from your family about 10 minutes after (but before knowing) your comment posted; prior to that I was on the phone with others (including those who had not read the article) who complained to me based on a Facebook post by your family. I very much look forward to speaking to you.
Andi Doddridge January 24, 2014 at 03:22 PM
Please provide our community with NEWS rather than conjecture or speculation. This was a frightening incident occuring in our community--that's news. Our community should be made aware because the man is out on bail and is back out on our streets--that's news. Speculating about what happened without any factual references or research is irresponsible and you should print an apology and or a retraction. This incident is frightening on so many levels--older man, young girl, 3:00 a.m., hand over mouth after skulking into the house, quick release and out on bail...I know I'll be continuing to set my house alarms 24/7 as learning of this incident is a SERIOUS wake-up call for all of our community.
Amy Driver January 24, 2014 at 03:54 PM
The information regarding a suspect being dropped off by a car with a broken headlight was regarding another call to the Sheriff in Foothill Ranch off of Esternay and Tresaunce. This is not the same incident.
Martin Henderson (Editor) January 24, 2014 at 04:06 PM
It was part of the blotter on Harris incident, however.
Karen Anselmo January 24, 2014 at 04:18 PM
If the Harris family wasn't interested in talking to the media, maybe they were avoiding articles like this being written! We are a small community and misinformation like your article can be very damaging. This incident has frightened all of us and we are all trying to do what we can to help the Harris family protect their daughter. This man is a predator and the only "connection" between them is that he targeted her! Please remove this article as soon as possible to protect the victim.
Bonnie Harris January 24, 2014 at 06:07 PM
Why do you elude to statements when you have no facts to base them on? You took two snippets of information from the blotter and the OCSD in which you wrote a story on. Not only do you hurt this family with your erroneous editorial but you hurt the entire community. This family has been victimized and instead of helping to remove criminals and crime you write this trash in attempt to legitimize a child molester and burglar. The girl in question is a child and a good one at that and NO ONE and I repeat NO ONE has the right to violate her, anyplace, anytime or anywhere! I suggest to everyone that receives your paper in the future to burn it.
M. B. Boyer January 24, 2014 at 08:01 PM
Mr. Henderson, the article you published epitomizes irresponsible journalism. Journalism is not about scratching the surface; it is about finding the truth. It is not about being the first to print – it is about printing what is right. The debauchery you produced is laden with errors and rid of fact. You have sensationalized the trauma of a family and jeopardized the justices deserved of the victim. I respectfully request that you retract your article.
Lady Golfnut January 24, 2014 at 08:34 PM
There is a lot more to the story than the reporter incorrectly reported to begin with. And please Mrs. Harris before you jump on me about your daughter or anything like that I do not mean she has anything to do with it. What I think is this suspect has been watching either your daughter or the neighborhood and chose a time when no one is out and about to break in and this is the very scary part. I'm just a block away from this neighborhood, a luckily we have 6 people at home and 4 of them men, plus an alarm system. With this and all the other break ins lately, we are all on high alert for every one. Hoping the Harris family can find peace as it's tough to put something like this behind you for a very long while!
Dzntmatr January 24, 2014 at 10:44 PM
Wow, Martin's explanation of his "reporting" only makes it worst. Without a community paper we rely upon Patch. But it apparent that it lack journalistic ethics and strives to post late breaking news with pith the facts. Irresponsible. I now consider it just another blog for the fringe to rant and rave. I'm never relying on this website for solid news until it had new leadership.
MrsTroxell January 24, 2014 at 11:10 PM
It seems clear that the article should be removed, immediately. What kind of "reporter" acts so irresponsibly, and without concern for the minor victim in this case? Mr. Henderson, if this is your typical method for delivering so-called "facts" to our community, by taking public information from the sherriff's blotter and translating it into sensational and inaccurate gossip; then please, do us all a favor and find another hobby.
Sheri Howard January 24, 2014 at 11:19 PM
This editor (Martin Henderson) has "reported" many "gossipy" articles in the past and the moment I saw his article on this incident I knew better than to believe what he was writing….. One thing about his reporting is it's always consistent with BS!!! His "reporting" is rarely accurate and always seems to be stirring controversy…… Sorry the Harris family had to wake up to reading such irresponsible journalism!
Mo Ho January 25, 2014 at 01:44 AM
I'm a resident of F.R. also, but I have some questions about this case, since there are a few things that are not mentioned in the article. First, how did the suspect gain entry into the residence? Was there forced entry, or did he enter through an open door/window? What is more important...why does the Sgt. believe there is more to it? Does he have additional information that wasn't reported in this article that would leave the S.D. to believe this wasn't a random act? Finally, I think most of the negative comments against the reporter are misplaced...he's merely reporting what he observed from the OCSD log and quoted a law enforcement source...if you want to take issue with the Sgt's questioning of a possible relationship between the victim and the suspect, take issue with the Sgt, not the one who reported it.
Ralph Spears January 25, 2014 at 02:56 AM
Martin, Let me get this straight: You are implying that a 28 year old male that sneaks into a family residence at 3:00 AM, has contact with a 17 year old girl, gets injured while being subdued by the family, is somehow the victim?
Martin Henderson (Editor) January 25, 2014 at 04:15 AM
Why would anyone think that I've implied the intruder is the victim? This family ought to be citizens of the month for their role in catching this guy. Nowhere do I sympathize with the intruder. Nowhere do I say they were boyfriend/girlfriend (and I went back into the story and spelled it out). Nowhere do I include any information that wasn't supplied by the blotter or a sheriff's deputy; the story is based on the facts available to me as presented by the sources. I spoke to Mr. Harris Friday night and had a great conversation with him and I expect there will be a follow-up story that will make things more clear with the Harris account of what transpired, but the information from him wasn't available to me.
Martin Henderson (Editor) January 25, 2014 at 04:20 AM
@Sheri Howard, please post links to the "many gossipy articles" I've reported; I'm sure my manager would be happy to see them, and you can prove definitively why you knew better than to believe what I was writing when you saw this headline. This is your chance to nail me to the wall. Go for it.
Daniel Bruce January 25, 2014 at 12:55 PM
I can tell you if it had been my daughter, he would well and truly had more than facial injuries, IF he lived, he would be singing soprano
Chin Kim Chong January 25, 2014 at 01:18 PM
I can see the police having some doubt about this case because probably is a common tactic in other cases to not admit knowing each other to protect each other from the family and from going to jail. It may not be the case here.
Laura January 28, 2014 at 11:41 AM
Martin- Shut up. Period. Put away the back hoe. You buried yourself deep enough with the shovel.
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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