When you find yourself a victim of a crime, it can be isolating. When one group of people living in West Hollywood all became targets of crime, however, they decided to solve the problem together. And after they had installed CCTV cameras, they then waited for the perfect opportunity to pounce.
And Wednesday, October 4, 2017, was a proud day for the residents of one particular apartment complex in West Hollywood. Showing a remarkable amount of community spirit, they pulled together in a heroic effort to apprehend an alleged vandal.
The story begins on Saturday, September 23, 2017. It was just a normal day at the apartment complex on the corner of Fountain Avenue and Hacienda Place – until one resident went down to the parking lot. Indeed, it was there that they found something horrifying.
According to neighbor Julie Ann O’Neill, that person had come down to find that all four tires on their car had been slashed. There was no sign of who had done it, however. And after that disconcerting discovery, things unfortunately only got worse.
Just two days after the first resident found that all of their tires had been slashed, another found that their car had been vandalized, too. This time, however, only one tire on the car had been slit. But there was still even more bad news for the neighbors on its way.
The next day, they found yet more damage in the form of spray paint. Bright orange graffiti had appeared on a car that had already been targeted once. And the West Hollywood community didn’t know what was going on or, indeed, who was behind it.
Then on the following Saturday, O’Neill herself awoke to find that her car had been paid a visit by whoever was doing this. Specifically, she had had orange graffiti sprayed all over her vehicle’s windscreen. By this point, it had been a week of incessant vandalism – and the apartment complex residents had had enough.
Wanting to get to the bottom of it, they decided to install security cameras overlooking the parking lot. Then when they watched the footage back, they spotted an anonymous figure appearing two nights in a row. It seemed, therefore, that there was only one thing to do with the video.
And although the residents did take the footage straight to the police, law enforcement unfortunately “weren’t much help,” according to a KTLA news report from October 2017. Not even the apartment complex management stepped in, according to the news station. So, the residents came up with their own plan.
Having lived in the block for 20 years, O’Neill was not about to sit back and do nothing. She told KTLA how one of the windows in her apartment looks out onto the gate of the complex. So, instead of going to bed, O’Neill decided to stay up and keep watch from the safety of her home.
That night, she peered out of the window, waiting to see what would happen. In particular, she wanted to see whether the mystery vandal would return. And, sure enough, she eventually saw a figure in the parking lot. First of all, she grabbed her cell phone and texted some of the other residents to call 911.
Now that they were aware of the intruder, it was time to spring into action. Indeed, it didn’t take long for someone else from the apartment complex to head down to the parking lot and confront the mystery man.
What happened next was caught on the CCTV cameras installed by the inhabitants. One of O’Neill’s friends walked up to the man, who simply tried to stroll past him. But the newcomer wasn’t having any of it, and the two subsequently got into a skirmish.
And the camera footage shows both men scuffling on the ground of the parking lot. But in the minutes that followed, more and more neighbors came down from their apartments to assist in what ended up becoming a heroic citizen’s arrest that made at least one news headline.
In fact, the locals managed to pin down the presumed vandal by his arms and legs while they waited for police reinforcements to arrive. Before the sheriff’s deputies came to the scene, though, O’Neill went through the man’s pockets and found something pretty concerning.
Speaking to KTLA, O’Neill described the moment when she pulled out a knife from the intruder’s pockets and realized that the situation could have been far more sinister than it was. She told the news reporter that she remembered thinking, “This is dangerous.”
But thankfully, with the use of enough force and duct tape, the West Hollywood residents managed to control the situation, which ended without incident. The police subsequently arrested the alleged vandal and took him away – footage of which was also caught on CCTV camera.
KTLA also reported that police arrested a 22-year-old man at the apartment block, who was still in custody the evening after he was arrested. The same source additionally explained how residents of the West Hollywood apartment block said that they would “do it all over again” if necessary.
Indeed, in what was described by the news station as “a dramatic take-down,” the residents showed incredible determination in their quest to stop the vandalism that was taking place nearby. It turned out that installing the CCTV cameras was a smart move, while performing a citizen’s arrest was indeed quite brave.
So, after such a show of community spirit, the residents of the targeted apartment complex can hopefully sleep more easily. However, it is still unknown whether or not the 22-year-old who was arrested will end up being convicted for the vandalism of the neighbors’ cars.