Fresno County deputies are looking for a group of thieves who broke into a southeast Fresno home in broad daylight Tuesday afternoon - in plain view of neighbors.
And they didn't sit back and watch. They put their own safety on the line to interrupt a break-in.
"They probably been in the house 5 to 8 minutes, real quick," said Christine Nelson, who says she saw three young men break into her neighbor's house.
She says one knocked on the door, and when nobody answered, she saw them break the lock on a fence and go into the backyard.
Deputies say they found one open window in the back of the house, and that's how they got inside.
Nelson says she immediately called the man who owns the house, who happens to live next door, and he confronted the thieves in progress, at which point, neighbors say they took off.
"One guy got in a black car and drove over here, then the other guys came out," said Nelson.
One of the burglars ran into another neighbor as he tried to run away.
"I ran to the front yard and told him to stop, and he started running," said Jesse Dro.
He has a broken leg, so he yelled at another neighbor to give chase.
"I took off after him, when I got really close to him, he said, c'mon, c'mon, then I got up to him and he pulled a knife out and then I said, okay that's enough for me," said Kenneth Pivpig, who stopped chasing at the sight of the knife.
"I wasn't gone more than 20 minutes, that's scary that something could happen in such a short period of time," said Susan Alexander, who was at the grocery store during the burglary.
When she got home the thieves were long gone and her neighbors were telling detectives what they saw.
"I am very grateful that she was watching, because it could've been worse. Or I could've come back and they would've been here, and that would've been scary too," said Alexander.
Detectives say the thieves left plenty of clues behind for them – including a footprint and tire tracks.
And another neighbor was able to jot down the car's license plate number before they took off.
"In the big scope of things, it turned out okay," said Alexander.
She has her proactive neighbors to thank for that.
"Hopefully our community will come a little closer, become united. Help each other and protect each other," said Pivpig.
The thieves got away with a laptop and a few other personal items from the home.
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