VENICE (CBSLA.com) — A young woman's daring escape from a home intruder, in which she bailed out of a second-story window and ran onto her roof, was caught on camera.
Melora Rivera says she managed to crawl out of a window Wednesday morning, in order to run and hide on her roof after Christian Hicks, 29, allegedly broke into her home.
"He managed to break one of these panels and reach in to unlock the door," Rivera said. "Once I saw him in the house, I knew that we both couldn't be there. I knew that I didn't want to have a confrontation with him of any sort, you know, not knowing what his intention was."
Rivera, who says she was in bed at the time of the intrusion, was wearing only a flannel shirt.
As she made her way to the roof, with Hicks reportedly pursuing her, Rivera was able to grab her phone and call 911.
She hid under an eave as she spoke with the dispatcher.
"The drop is, I would guess, more than 20 feet," Rivera said. "So there was no safely jumping off the roof or coming down from the roof at that point."
Officers soon surrounded the house.
"It was my biggest fear was that he was going to be forced by the cops to come hide in basically the same place I was hiding," Rivera said.
Bystander Alexandria Thompson saw what was occurring and captured pictures of the event, posting them to her Twitter.
Police said that officers were able to get to Rivera less than two minutes after they had been dispatched.
The fire department, too, responded on scene, and helped Rivera down off the roof, as police worked to get Hicks to surrender.
Through the pictures posted to social media, residents were able to identify Hicks as a well-known homeless person.
It turns out one of Rivera's neighbors had called police on Hicks at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday for wandering into a yard.
"I saw this guy this morning in handcuffs," Thompson said. "I've seen him in my yard. I called the police."
Officers had detained Hicks, but were required to let him go since the caller refused to identify him in person.
Meanwhile, Rivera says the overall problem of homelessness needs to be identified and addressed.
"I think it's very obvious for most of us who live around here, when someone seems to be suffering from a mental illness, and to continue to let these people walk around without offering them assistance, to protect them and us. That, I think, is the heart of the problem."
Hicks' bail has been set at $50,000 and he has been charged with burglary.
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