The Crime: Robbery
The Victim: Carmen Mendoza
Location: 5900 block of Prospect
Date: Saturday, Sept. 1
Time: 8:20 p.m.

Guns can tell people a lot about themselves.

A gun in the hand, or a gun pointed in one’s general direction, can put a person’s personality in stark relief. A lifetime wimp can become Rambo at a gun range, unloading his pent-up aggression on paper targets, and a tough guy can be reduced to a simpering mess in the face of an armed burglar — a gun can elicit a wide array of reactions.

So when a man poked a gun against the back of neighborhood resident Carmen Mendoza as she walked to her car, she learned that, no matter what threat loomed, she wasn’t one to be pushed around.

“It pissed me off so bad,” Mendoza says. “I had no control over how I felt, really. I didn’t get scared. I just got really, really angry.”

Mendoza was headed out for the night when a man approached her from behind and pressed a hard, metallic object against her back. He told her he had a gun and to do everything he said or he would kill her.

She had other ideas.

“What he really wanted was my car,” Mendoza says. “And that just put me into an anger mood. I work very hard for my vehicle.”

So when the possibly armed burglar told Mendoza to hand over her car keys, she replied: “You want my keys? Here’s my keys!” and threw them as far as she could into a nearby patch of tall grass.

Mendoza says she didn’t have the chutzpah to turn around at any point during the robbery, but a stunned silence followed her actions, followed by a demand for her money. Not caring as much about this, she complied, giving the robber her $120 in cash and cell phone.
“I think he had planned to drive away, so when I gave him that stuff, I think he just had to run away,” Mendoza says.

Mendoza dodged a bullet, figuratively speaking, and kept her vehicle, but Sr. Cpl. Jason Sibley says her reaction wasn’t a wise one.
“In my opinion, when you have a suspect who potentially has a gun, you should give them whatever they want,” Sibley says. “But hey, it worked this time, apparently.”

Mendoza admits that what she did may not have been advisable, but says that, like most instantaneous reactions, she had no control over it.

“You don’t understand how mad it made me to have someone come up to me, in my driveway, and try to take away something I worked so hard for,” Mendoza says. “I didn’t care what he was going to do. I didn’t even think. I just threw them, because he wasn’t getting my car. That’s all there was to it.”

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