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FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Coral Springs Police say Alfonso Mendoza broke into a family’s home Monday night through a read slider, snuck into a 14-year-old girl’s bedroom and tried to sexually assault her.

Police say Mendoza ran from the house after the girl’s mother saw him trying to escape through a window. That’s when a neighbor — who did not want to be identified — said he heard the mother’s screams.

“Once I heard a woman screaming help for her daughter, it set me off,” the neighbor told CBS 4’s Carey Codd, in exclusive interview. “I felt it was fight or flight and you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to protect your family and your neighbors.”

The man said he chased after Mendoza.

“I saw the gentleman running through the backyard,” the neighbor said. “I screamed out for him to stop and that’s basically when I chased after him.”

Police said Mendoza got away but only for a short time. Neighbors said Mendoza was captured in a canal a few miles away. Neighbors say they are in awe of the work of the Coral Springs Police.

“I think they did an excellent job,” the unidentified neighbor said. “The response time was amazing.”

In court Tuesday Judge John Hurley ordered Mendoza held without bond, saying he believes Mendoza is a threat to the community.

“(You) represent a very extreme danger to any young female in our community,” Hurley told him.

Mendoza’s longtime roommate said Mendoza works in construction and he didn’t see anything out of the ordinary in Mendoza’s behavior on Monday night.

“I’m in shock because we’re living together,” said Felipe Palomo.

Neighbors are still in shock, too, and tell CBS4 News that they are taking steps to protect their families and secure their homes. However, they do see a silver lining.

“We’re lucky tonight,” said neighbor Scott Spector. “We have a creep off the streets.”

In court Tuesday prosecutors said Mendoza only has a misdemeanor theft charge from 2005 on his record. Mendoza is charged with lewd and lascivious battery and burglary with an assault and battery.


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