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Neighborhood Watch Captain Foils Robbery; 2 of 3 Suspects Caught

Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles police detectives credited an alert Neighborhood Watch block captain for foiling a robbery Friday in a Granada Hills home.

Three armed men had terrorized a family of four and were attempting to make off with several thousand dollars in goods when a 71-year-old neighbor came to the rescue, police said.

Noticed 3 Men

The block captain, who did not want to be identified because one of the suspects is still at large, noticed three men get out of a car that had been slowly cruising through the 17400 block of San Jose Street, and watched them enter a ranch-style home about 8:30 a.m. The neighbor became suspicious and called police.

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Lt. Rick Violano said the men forced their way into the home, tied up the husband with duct tape and held guns on his wife and two small daughters while piling jewelry and other valuables into laundry bins.

When police officers arrived, they cornered and arrested a suspect in the backyard and chased two others who had escaped over the back fence. A short time later, one of the suspects was arrested when he entered another home nearby and the resident went next door to call police.

Friday evening, police were still searching for the third suspect. The two men arrested earlier--Mike C. Fournier, 28, and John P. Goldstein, about 25, both of Los Angeles--were held on suspicion of robbery in lieu of $11,000 bail, Detective Cecil Mixon said.

“This is really a case of the Neighborhood Watch Program working perfectly. That guy did an excellent job,” Violano said.

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The block captain, who said he is a novelist and has written and published 79 books, spoke modestly Friday of his part in the arrests, saying he was “just doing my job.” Using binoculars, he got the license plate number of the intruders’ car and then waited for police to arrive.

‘Didn’t Look Right’

“We’ve got a good Neighborhood Watch program going in this neighborhood,” he said. “The situation just didn’t look right, looked real suspicious. I’m a writer, and when you’re a writer, you have to be a good observer. These guys just looked out of place.”

The family members, none of whom were injured, told police they did not know the suspects, Mixon said.

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