Authorities are asking for the public’s help Sunday in identifying and locating three men who allegedly robbed and assaulted a gardener in Glendale last week, officials said.
Officers responded to reports of a robbery around 9:15 a.m. on Feb. 23 in the 1500 block of El Miradero Avenue near Bel Aire Drive, the Glendale Police Department said in a news release.
Police searched the area for suspects immediately upon arrival but were unable to locate them.
The victim, who has identified himself to KTLA 5 News as Enrique Gonzalez, was working at a residence when he noticed a blue minivan pull up alongside his work van and saw three men stealing his gardening equipment, according to an initial investigation and witness reports.
Gonzalez says he then ran up to the van and when he saw that the driver’s seat was empty, he leaned into the window and tried to turn off engine and grab the keys. That’s when one of the suspects realized what Gonzalez was doing and attacked him.
Police said the driver of the suspect vehicle grabbed Gonzalez’s arm and held onto him as he drove the minivan in reverse at a high rate of speed for approximately 300 yards.
The driver then stopped and punched the victim in the face, causing him to fall onto the roadway, authorities said.
Home surveillance video near El Miradero Avenue and Bel Aire Drive captured the incident. The suspects in a minivan are seen backing up the vehicle. While Gonzalez can’t be seen from the camera’s angle, a man can be heard in the background calling for help in the background as the vehicle disappeared from the frame.
Neighbors heard the commotion and tried to help Gonzalez. Rachel Siegel, a resident of the area, told KTLA that she witnessed the suspect minivan driving in reverse down the street with Gonzalez hanging out from the driver’s side door.
The suspects in the minivan sped away after Gonzalez fell onto the street, police said, adding that the victim sustained a minor injury from the incident but declined medical attention.
The three suspects are described as Hispanic men in their early 20s. Their getaway vehicle is described as a blue Dodge Caravan from the late 1990s to early 2000s with traffic collision damage to the front passenger side headlight.
No further details about the suspects were immediately available. Officials say the total value of stolen gardening equipment is estimated to be $7,400.
Meanwhile, a resident of the neighborhood who witnessed the robbery has set up a GoFundMe account to help Gonzalez replace his stolen equipment. As of Sunday afternoon, the community has raised more than $6,000.
Anyone with information that can assist with the investigation is encouraged to contact the Glendale Police Department at 818-548-4911. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org.
Carlos Saucedo reports for the KTLA 5 News on Feb. 27, 2021.