Sal Mercado got home one evening to find a car parked outside his home in Oak Park, California. He did not think much of it and thought it was only a coincidence.
He was in for the shock of his life when he met face to face with an intruder as soon as he walked through his door. Mercado immediately understood why there was a strange car outside.
Without thinking, he punched the intruder several times in the face. The burglar managed to flee to the front yard.
It was eventually determined that the burglar was part of a "crime tourism" ring. The criminals would cross state or international borders to commit crimes before going back home.
When Mercado saw the man stealing from him, he thought he had to catch him and make sure he faced the law. He wanted to catch the intruder and hold him down until the police came.
As far as he is concerned, the government should be doing more to fight crime. So, his thinking was, "Don't let this guy escape."
Sadly, the first man he encountered got to the car outside. Another thief in the house came down the stairs with his hands full of jewelry and electronics.
Once again, instinct kicked in, and Mercado punched the man several times.
The intruder tried to go after him, and the homeowner had no idea if he was armed. However, he just started punching and "went Mike Tyson on him."
After a flurry of blows, the intruder stumbled and fell on the grass as he was leaving the house.
Mercado was keen on ensuring that the intruder did not get away without facing any consequences. He pursued the thief aggressively, taking him down, restraining him, and yelling at his neighbors, asking them to call the cops.
Mercado was able to tackle the man before shoving him into the bushes near his house. After that, he grabbed his arms, pulled them back, and pinned them behind him before putting his weight on the thief's head:
"... but he was all bloody, and my whole arms were bloody."
The unfortunate burglar was identified as a 43-year-old Chilean migrant named Alexis Provoste Aranguiz. He got treatment at a local hospital for several facial fractures.
For his crimes, Aranguiz was charged with conspiracy and first-degree residential burglary.
In his statement to the media, Mercado said:
"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."
According to the authorities, the burglars get visas online before flying to LAX. After that, they target homeowners.
Usually, the intruders will study neighborhoods in advance to find out ways they can get in and out.
Mercado regrets not catching both thieves, but he is still happy that he was able to get one of them. He also clarified that he would have given the intruder the same treatment if the incident happened again.
Mercado did what he could to keep himself and his property safe. His concerns about the justice system, unfortunately, are justified.
Criminals such as Aranguiz often avoid justice.
What's clear is that even though the other culprits were able to get away, they will be keen to avoid Mercado's home in the future. Getting beaten to a pulp is, without a doubt, enough incentive to make them stay away.