Photos show home intruder following woman onto roof while police watch

Updated 3:02 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014

Story highlights

Melora Rivera was dressed in only a flannel shirt as she fled to her roof

Police weren't sure at first that Rivera wasn't the intruder

A neighbor snapped a dramatic photo of Rivera huddled as the intruder neared

A 29-year-old man was captured and charged with burglary

(CNN) —  

When Melora Rivera heard an intruder kicking the front door of her Venice, California, home Wednesday morning, her reaction was to jump out of bed and onto her roof.

“Once I saw him in the house, I knew that we both couldn’t be there,” Rivera told CNN TV affiliate KCAL/KCBS. “I knew that I didn’t want to have a confrontation with him of any sort, you know, not knowing what his intention was.”

Rivera, dressed only in a flannel shirt, used her cell phone to call police as the intruder also climbed onto the roof.

“The drop is, I would guess, more than 20 feet,” Rivera said. “So there was no safely jumping off the roof or coming down from the roof at that point.”

Police arrived in about two minutes, but they only saw Rivera on the roof, Los Angeles Police spokeswoman Sara Faden said. Officers initially weren’t sure she wasn’t the intruder they were called to stop.

“It was my biggest fear was that he was going to be forced by the cops to come hide in basically the same place I was hiding,” Rivera said.

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Home intrusions happen every day and everywhere, but this incident is unusual because several of Rivera’s neighbors watching the drama used their cell phones to capture photos and video of the unfolding drama.

One especially striking image shows Rivera huddled under an eave with her phone to her ear while the intruder lurks just above. Other photos show police with guns drawn, ready to protect the woman if the intruder attacks.

Rivera was finally rescued from the roof with a Los Angeles Fire Department ladder.

Police eventually coaxed the intruder down, placing him in handcuffs and charging him with burglary. Officer Faden identified him as Christian Hicks, 29.

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CNN’s Dottie Evans contributed to this report.