It was almost like a fairytale come to life — when Nester Zepeda heard a woman screaming for help after her purse was stolen, he valiantly pursued the thief on horseback, like a real-life knight in shining armor.
As he galloped down the streets of Northridge on his tan thoroughbred horse named Palomino, the suspect surrendered the woman's purse. Nester was able to return the purse to the woman with all of its contents intact.
Nester, 23, of Reseda, was honored Monday with certificates of appreciation from the Los Angeles Police Department and City Councilman Mitch Englander, but he said he doesn't see himself as a hero.
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"I just did what I feel like I had to do. I would like someone to do this if that happened to me," he said at a news conference.
Englander presented both Nester and Palomino with certificates as well as a hero medallion on behalf of the city of Los Angeles.
"You've gone over and above the call of duty for a citizen, and over and above the call of duty of a horse," Englander said.
Back in March, a woman was walking back to her car in the parking lot of the Northridge Fashion Center when a thief confronted her and snatched her purse, said Capt. Brian Pratt of LAPD's Devonshire Division.
As he was pursuing the thief, Nester jumped off Palomino, and the thief dropped the purse. Nester said he wanted to catch the suspect, but decided to let him go when he noticed Palomino was suffering a leg injury.
When Nester returned the purse to the woman, she hugged both him and Palomino.
"Chasing a suspect on horseback — only in the San Fernando Valley would you see something like that happen where we have true locals heroes that get involved," Englander said.