Man caught stealing teacher's tires in El Monte released same day as arrest

In broad daylight, two men are captured on cell phone video stealing the tires of a BMW in El Monte.

"As soon as I saw them, I immediately pulled out my phone to start recording; it was just like an instinct," said elementary school teacher Isabel Fountain.

The theft occurred on June 24 around 10 a.m. 

Fountain was headed to her summer job when she caught the two men in the act. 

"I didn't think about how dangerous it could have been. If they had a weapon or anything like that. I just wanted to get it recorded, so I could show it to the police," she said.

Fountain got a good shot of the license plate and one of the suspects before they took off with one of the tires. 

In the video, Fountain can be heard expressing her disbelief saying, "Why are you doing this?" 

Fountain posted the video on TikTok, which went viral, garnering 9.2 million views. She then reported the crime to the El Monte Police Department. 

Officers there recognized one of the suspects immediately. 

"This person has a long history of crimes, and we're fortunate to have gotten him into custody on this one," said El Monte Sgt. Roger Cobian.

Only one man was arrested because the second man in the video couldn't be identified. Police officers arrested 50-year-old Felipe Ramirez, of El Monte.  

Through the years, Ramirez has been arrested for multiple crimes. But to her surprise, Fountain says police told her they had to release Ramirez the same day he was arrested. 

"It's concerning because it doesn't stop them from continuing burglaries or anything of that sort; they can go out literally that same day and do it to somebody else," Fountain said. 

El Monte Police say while it is disappointing to victims, law enforcement can only enforce the laws; they do not create them. 

Ramirez was released because of the current zero bail policy. 

"It's a nonviolent crime, so in the eyes currently in LA County, it's something that somebody needs to be cited out on and not kept and held for until their court date," Sgt. Cobian said.