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Unlikely Hero Helps Police Catch Two Would-Be Burglars

Unlikely Hero Helps Police Catch Two Would-Be Burglars

Cynthia Valdes, 12, who made a 911 call as home invaders broke into her home in Hialeah.

The Miami Herald via YellowBrix

February 22, 2011

HIALEAH, FL – An unlikely hero helped catch two would-be burglars Monday afternoon.

Cynthia Valdes, 12, quickly alerted authorities to the intruders when they broke into her Hialeah home.

Cynthia was home alone on Monday. School was out for the Presidents’ Day holiday, her mom was working and her dad had stepped out to get food.

Just before 1 p.m., someone banged at the house on West 79th Street. Cynthia first called her dad, who said he wasn’t expecting anyone. So she called 911 on her cellphone and hid in her bedroom closet.

“I’m home alone and he’s knocking on my door. Please I need somebody here quick,” she told a dispatcher on an emergency call released by Hialeah police.

“He’s in the house. I need someone here quick,” she added.

Cynthia told The Miami Herald she only saw one man at the door. She didn’t realize there were two men until after the incident.

While they were inside the house, she stayed on the phone with the emergency dispatcher and told him everything she could.

“I was trembling. I was scared,” the sixth-grader recounted. “I imagined they were just going to rob because they had not seen me.”

At one point the men tried to escape through the back, but the home’s rear gates kept them on the property. That’s when they tried to exit the front door.

By then, more than a dozen officers, including SWAT and K-9 teams, had arrived at the house and confronted the men, said Hialeah police spokesman Eddie Rodriguez.

“The last thing they expected was a little girl in a closet with a cellphone,” Rodriguez said.

Hialeah police have charged the two men, Michel Torres, 32, of Miami, and Pedro Estrada, 35, of Homestead, with burglary and auto theft. The white Cadillac they were driving had been reported stolen, Rodriguez said.

This is not the two men’s first brush with the law. Last September, Torres and Estrada were both charged with burglary of an unoccupied home and have hearings scheduled in March and April.

Cynthia said she didn’t feel too heroic about her efforts.

“Not that much. That was my only way out,” she said.

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