Neighbors Intervene to Help Stop South Pasadena Bike Thief

The suspect responsible for the theft had been arrested three times for similar crimes.

Residents of a South Pasadena neighborhood quickly stepped in to help stop a would-be bike thief, who led them on a more than mile-long chase early Saturday.

The incident occurred in the 1000 block of Magnolia Street around 7 a.m. after a neighbor saw a man walking from the parking structure of a condominium complex with a bike that looked like one belonging to his neighbor. The man contacted his neighbor, who realized his black bike was missing, and they took off searching for the bike thief.

"I decided to do that because two months ago, one bike got stolen from my property and this is my second bike," said Joseph Chebabi. "Secondly, personal feeling, I want to get the criminal or the thieves out of my town, one way or another."

Soon, a third resident of the building spotted the bike and the thief a few blocks away, and followed the man on foot for almost a mile before Chebabi and other residents confronted the thief. After getting into an argument, residents called police and tried to the subdue the suspect, identified as 33-year-old Edwin Lopez of Los Angeles, until they arrived.

Once South Pasadena police showed up, Lopez took off running, and came across a delivery van that had been left running with the keys in the ignition. The van was occupied by the delivery driver's 17-year-old daughter, and when she screamed Lopez ran and was detained moments later by South Pasadena police officers.

Lopez was found to be in possession of several tools, as well as methamphetamine paraphernalia. He had been arrested three times in the past 45 days for similar crimes, according to South Pasadena police.

Though everything ended well for Chebabi and his neighbors, police advise against confronting thieves in these kinds of situations.

"Confronting the suspect or the thief in this nature is never a good idea," said acting Cpl. Craig Phillips. "He was found to have tools on him that can be used as weapons against people."

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