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LASD: Clever mom uses taco to distract police impersonator and call for help

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Image credit: LASD

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – One Brave Momma Bear + Alerted Community Members + Deputies Responding Tactically = A Swift Arrest & Reassurance that we can work together to put bad guys in jail and have Safer Communities for our Families

It was a hot late afternoon on Sunday June 10, 2018. At about 6:34PM, a family was enjoying cold bottled sodas and street tacos in the City of Industry. The family of six was headed back home from a family day at a waterpark. They pulled over and parked their family minivan to grab some of their favorite carne asada tacos before their commute home. While the family was eating out of their van, a dangerous stranger on a bike approached them. The stranger on the bike was a man who began to intimidate and terrorize both parents and their four children. He began flashing a gun, that was concealed in his waist band, showed them a badge and told them he was an undercover “cop”.

Suspect Juan Rodriguez. Image credit: LASD.

A mother’s instinct immediately kicked in and she knew the stranger was not a cop and that he may harm her family. The mother instantly began to put together a plan in place to distance her husband, three daughters and toddler who was still buckled in his car seat inches away from the man with a gun. She offered the man a street taco and told him she needed to grab napkins for him from the taco truck. The man with the gun continued to flash his gun and ransack through the mother’s purse as she walked away.

Suspect Juan Rodriguez. Image credit: LASD.
The mother approached the taco truck and customers who were standing in line. She asked them not look back towards her family’s van and asked them to please call 911 or help her. She quickly explained the man was flashing a gun who was intimidating her children and husband and she feared for their lives. The customers in line and the taco truck man called 911 without delay and provided #LASD Industry Station dispatch with the suspect’s description and their exact location.

Within minutes deputies arrived and saw the suspect next to the family’s van at the 13400 Block of Valley Boulevard in the area of Industry. When the suspect saw the patrol cars getting closer, he tossed the handgun into the family’s van and tried to get in. Deputies were able to detain the suspect before anything further occurred. Deputies recovered the gun and made sure all family members were unharmed. The suspect was placed in handcuffs and taken to jail.

We want to thank the community members who immediately called law enforcement to report the suspicious activity. We want to give a shout out to the brave mother whose momma bear instincts kicked in and she was able to deescalate the situation, plan a distraction and found a way to get deputies to her location immediately.

The 911 callers wanted to remain anonymous. Suspect Juan Rodriguez MH/38 was booked at Industry Sheriff’s Station under Bokking number 5336639, for several felony charges including child endangerment, impersonating a peace officer and outstanding warrants. Deputies are conducting follow up on other possible related crime calls that were received in the area. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Industry Sheriff’s Station at (626)330-3322. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP, or “P3 Mobile” for the hearing impaired, on Google play or the App Store, or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.

Written By: Deputy Joana Warren
Sheriff’s Information Bureau – Newsroom
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Hall of Justice – First floor
211 W. Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
213-229-1700

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