'It broke my heart': Victim speaks out after pursuit suspect steals his work truck
LOS ANGELES - "Once I saw him start the truck, I knew it was over, and it broke my heart."
Andres Benitez saved up money and purchased a work truck just three weeks ago. But unfortunately, the truck was stolen during a wild police chase… caught live on TV.
The suspect, Johnny Anchondo, 32, who was initially wanted by police in Fullerton, led officers on a pursuit through parts of Orange and Los Angeles counties. The suspect, in a white van, was seen driving on the wrong side of the roads, speeding through traffic and evading police. At one point, the van sideswiped a parked car at the intersection of Carmenita Rd. and Placid Dr. in Whitter. The van became disabled but the suspect kept attempting to drive off, causing sparks and smoke to come off the vehicle. The suspect managed to get out of the vehicle and ran away from officers.
After a brief run, the suspect manged to enter Andres Benitez' house.
"I was in the kitchen drinking an energy drink, my mom was on the couch and we were talking. And we see the back door open, and that back door is never suppose to open, no matter what. So when I saw it open, my first reaction was someone is trying to get into the house," Benitez told FOX 11.
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He had just got home from work, and spent less than 10 minutes at home before chaos erupted.
Seeing the intruder inside the house, Benitez grabbed a kitchen knife and told the man to leave.
"I told him you got to get out of the house or I'm going to stab you right now. And when I told him that, he felt threatened and put his hands up and kept saying please, please. Knowing my mother is in the house, I'm going to defend the house."
Benitez then started leading the suspect to the front door. That's when the suspect grabbed his car keys and ran out to the truck in the driveway.
"He grabbed the keys once he saw my mom was holding me back. He grabbed them and all he did was show me some scissors he had."
Benitez ran after him and dropped the knife once he saw the suspect start his truck. His dog, a pitbull, also tried to intervene and chased the vehicle down the street.
"Once I saw him start up the truck, I kind of already knew it was over. Because just from looking at him, I can tell he didn't care about living no more," Benitez emotionally explained.
To him that truck is more than a car... it's hard work. He has a landscaping business with his brother and father. They saved up thousands to buy the new truck and within seconds it was gone. He says all their equipment was in the truck.
"He took all the equipment we use, and we still have to work tomorrow. And I don’t know how we are going to do it."
A GoFundMe page has been launched for Benitez after he got his work truck stolen. Those looking to help can click here for more information.
The suspect was eventually taken into custody during a standoff with officers at a gas station on Hacienda Blvd. and Gale Ave. in Hacienda Heights. Anchondo is convicted felon on parole