Shotgun-wielding veteran foils home burglary
Durime Fahim’s home still has damage from a break-in last month on East Lambert in the South Town area of the city.
"If I open this here, the whole thing comes off," she said while pointing to the lock that burglars had kicked in on her door. "They came in here and ransacked the bedrooms.”
Fahim, 32, took photographs of the destruction left behind.
“They were able to take all of these wires out," she said about her flat-screen television.
Two suspects used a pillow case to steal jewelry and other pricey possessions.
"It was upsetting,” she told Fox San Antonio’s Ryan Wolf. “It was scary. And it was frightening and frustrating."
She said they not only tried to steal from the home but also attacked her 4 pet dogs inside.
“One of the most upsetting things about all of this is that they stoned my dogs," she explained after pointing out areas where rocks were found on the floor. “I kind of sat in the closet for a second and cried."
The burglary has left Fahim and her husband on edge.
"Whenever the dogs bark at night, I get really freaked out because I think, oh my gosh, did we leave something unlocked?” she explained. “Is somebody outside?"
Despite Fahim's anxiety, she's actually quite thankful.
"This person is not just a neighbor, they're a friend," Fahim, a Family Law Attorney said. “After only knowing him for 6 weeks, he put his own life on the line."
Roland Almandarez was the neighbor who foiled the burglary in progress.
The soon-to-be 73-year-old, who served time in the Vietnam War, was nominated for the CASH FOR KINDNESS award.
Fox San Antonio’s Ryan Wolf helped set up a meeting at the Fahim home for Almandarez to look over some papers.
He had no idea about the surprise nomination.
"I called Ryan because of what you did,” she told her neighbor when he walked into her home.
“Uh-oh, you're going to make me cry," Almandarez said after realizing what was going on.
The war veteran is credited with stopping the burglary in progress. He called 9-1-1 after noticing a suspicious van outside his neighbor’s home. He then grabbed a shotgun and helped police nab one of two suspects, according to Fahim. Luis Trevino, 32, was arrested and charged in connection with the crime, according to a San Antonio police report.
"They came out the front door, flying,” Almandarez recalled. “The suspect and the police officer. And they saw me with the shotgun. And their eyes just went like this."
Police were able to recover the stolen property. A second suspect escaped.
“You came in, and you like, saved our house,” Fahim said while crying. “And you protected us.”
“Hey, we're all neighbors,” Almandarez said in response.
“You're not just a war hero, you're my hero,” Fahim said.
She reached out to give him a hug and said “I wanted to surprise you with this. So yea, surprise!”
“Wow!” Almandarez said. “I'm going to faint."
Fahim initially tried to repay her neighbor’s kindness with beer and a slice of pie.
She never thought his request was enough.
Wolf explained about the prize that comes with his nomination on CASH FOR KINDNESS.
“And, I have a feeling that you're going to be able to buy a lot of Lone Star beer and a lot of pie with this," he said while handing over a stack of $100 bills from Fox San Antonio.
Almandarez counted the money aloud.
“$1,000!” he said. “Give it to a charity.”
“But you can give it to a charity,” Fahim told him.
“No!” he insisted. “No. No.”
“That's your reward,” Fahim said. “I nominated you for a reason. I nominated you because nobody else has been this nice to us."
Almandarez said he doesn’t want the recognition.
“Police officers are heroes,” he said. “I'm just the neighbor. We all try to take care of each other around here."
He's just happy to have new friends across the street from him.
Almandarez eventually accepted the CASH FOR KINDNESS and shared how he planned to use some of the money to help homeless veterans.
Click here to nominate someone for the $1,000 CASH FOR KINDNESS award.