Talk about being at the right place at the right time. A local valet who helped stop a would-be carjacker and kidnapper in downtown Bakersfield is talking about the ordeal.
While he's being hailed a hero, Bakersfield police are facing some criticism as to why it took ten days to release surveillance video of the suspect. Police admit they should have made the tape public sooner.
While the surveillance video is out now, the valet who interrupted the crime, Mike Orozco, has been thinking about what he saw since it happened March 31st.
"He tried pushing them inside the car and said start up the car and lets go," explained Orozco who works at The Padre as a valet.
That happened to a woman just before 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 31st in the parking garage on 18th and Eye Streets, according to investigators. As she was taking her 5-year-old son from the backseat of her car, a man, police believe is pictured in surveillance video from the parking garage, threatened her with a knife. That's when Mike's job as a valet, took a backseat.
"As I was coming down, I saw some lady yelling. I threw my car in brake, and I went to try helping her ,but the guy just fled. And, I was going to try to run after, but she held onto me. She was like call the cops, call the cops," recalled Orozco.
Mike said the cops were quick to get there, but not quick enough to catch the man. And, Bakersfield police weren't quick to release the surveillance video of the suspect either.
"There was some investigative steps they wanted to take before they released the video," explained Sgt. Mary DeGeare.
Sgt. DeGeare says police kept public safety in mind, holding onto the tape. And, releasing what is clear video too early might have made the suspect run. But, after ten days with no arrest, they decided to make the video public.
"In hindsight in this case it probably would have been better to release it right away," admitted Sgt. DeGeare.
Meantime, Mike's back at his valet station, but ready to switch gears to crime fighter if duty calls again.
"Whatever I can do to help out, I'll do," said Orozco.
Sgt. DeGeare says there have been car break-ins and vandalism in that parking garage, but nothing this extreme. Bakersfield police officers patrol the garage at varying times. And, the Padre has its own security guard for the garage as well.
If you have any information about the attempted carjacking and kidnapping, call Detective Rick Dossey at 326-3513.