Desert Hot Springs, CA
Less than 24 hours after KMIR News aired surveillance video of a man who brings a child along for a home break-in in Desert Hot Springs, police got a phone tip that solved the case.
"Concerned citizens in the community last night were watching T.V. and recognized the subject from the video that you ran … and they identified the subject and told us where we could find him," says Detective Christopher Saucier, with the Desert Hot Springs Police Department.
Saucier says the suspect, 25-year-old Damon Caldwell of Desert Hot Springs wasn’t surprised when police showed up, "I got the impression he knew why we were there and he was detained without any incident."
The person who called in the tip also knew where police could find the little boy in the video.
Saucier says officers visited the child and his family, "He’s fine, he’s upset, he knew what happened was wrong but he was reassured once we explained to him why we were there and that he wasn’t in any trouble and he was fine after that he was talkative," adding the family had no idea their child witnessed a child break-in, "they were very upset, they were very upset and concerned … they were not involved at all with the incident."
Saucier says the break-in could have ended in tragedy, "Had somebody been home there could have been a confrontation with the homeowner and the suspect and with the little boy there he would have been right in the middle of the mix."
Police credit the homeowner for helping solve his own crime.
The homeowner says he’s grateful to everyone who helped bring the suspect to justice but his main concern all along was the little boy, "I’m just glad I could help, I mean really it was just more of a case of seeing a child involved in a very dangerous situation and just making sure he was okay."
The suspect faces burglary and child endangerment charges.