Teen held at gunpoint in Porterville home invasion

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

A child was held at gunpoint during a home invasion burglary in the South Valley. The attempted burglary happened at a mobile home park in Porterville Monday afternoon. This wasn't the first time the home was targeted by criminals.

Carol Anderson has a pretty elaborate surveillance system keeping watch over her mobile home in Porterville. That's because her home has been hit twice by burglars in recent years because of what she grows. "Medical marijuana. I have four jars that they took," said Carol Anderson.

Anderson, 55, legally grows medicinal marijuana plants and on Monday, that's exactly what would-be thieves were after. Porterville Police say David Ortiz, 20, and Andrew Lopez, 22, broke into the mobile unit. But this time, there was someone home -- a 13-year-old was house-sitting while Anderson was at work.

As the burglars were breaking in through a back window, the teenager called his parents who then alerted Anderson and police.

But before help arrived, the boy was locked inside the bathroom at gunpoint. "The parents were at a different location in town when they received the call," said Sgt. Ron Moore with the Porterville Police Department. "They called us then [the parents] responded to the house as well. The parents called the homeowner also. The homeowner actually beat the parents and the officers [to the house]."

"I don't know what went through my mind. I just ran into my house, the door was unlocked so I just ran in without thinking," said Anderson. Anderson was beaten and tied up with this extension cord when she arrived at the house.

When the teenager's parents showed up moments later, they were assaulted by the two suspects. That's when Porterville police got to the scene and arrested both men.

Neighbors told Action News they feel their safety is at risk because of the plants grown both in and outside the house -- which is legal according to city ordinance. "A lot of criminals are targeting these houses knowing there's probably going to be large marijuana grows here," said Moore.

Anderson said she's thankful no one was seriously injured but plans to move out of the mobile park and continue growing the marijuana she uses for medical purposes.

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crimetracker, home invasion, medical marijuana, porterville, tulare county, local, carlos saucedo
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