Oak Park resident Sal Mercado came home to a pair of burglars in his Oak Park house Friday night.
The first burglar was just inside his front door, and after a confrontation, the thief ran to a waiting car.
But then the second burglar stumbled down Mercado’s stairs, his hands filled with jewelry and electronics.
“I just didn’t give him a chance, just hit him, because first of all, I don’t know if he has a gun, a knife, any kind of weapon, right? You just don’t know. Your mind goes crazy,” Mercado said.
That suspect, 43-year-old Alexis Provoste, is now in custody charged with two felonies. He is being held at the Ventura County Main Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail, and he is due to appear in court on Tuesday, according to jail records.
Provoste, who sustained several facial fractures, is part of what the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office describes as a burglary ring from Chile.
“They’ll typically case neighborhoods in advance and see ways they can get in and out,” said Deputy Ashley Barrios.
Investigators call it crime tourism. The crooks apply for visas online, then typically fly into LAX and target homeowners.
“Completely feel violated, it was just horrifying,” said victim Denise Mercado.
Fortunately for the Mercados in Oak Park, Sal Mercado was able to hold the second burglar down until deputies arrived.
“Our neighbors were all out, I’m yelling ‘Call 911,’ my glasses went flying … The only thing I didn’t think about was, the getaway car got away by this time,” he said.
Deputies took the suspect to jail after a trip to the hospital to be treated for his injuries.