SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) – It was a case of vigilante justice gone terribly wrong, when two Santa Rosa men, fed up with crime in their neighborhood, were convinced they’d found their suspect.
Before their ‘suspect’ knew it, Rodeo Van Bladel and Matthew Mills were beating his car with pipes and he was doing his best to get away.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
The man they were beating was newspaper delivery man Jimmy Tronconis. His friend, Rafy Quinto recounted the ordeal because the victim is too scared to talk on TV.
He said Tronconis told him he was driving a grey van, delivering papers yesterday morning when two men came out of nowhere and started cursing, and then attacked.
He put it in reverse and started to peel away, but he crashed into one car and then another. His airbags deployed, so he bailed out of the van.
“He just started running for his life because he didn’t know what was coming,” said Quinto. “They caught up with him and beat him, and they they left him behind.”READ MORE: UPDATE: Lighter Winds Lead To Early End of Red Flag Warning in North and East Bay Hills
Now, Van Bladel and Mills are charged with assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit a felony.
As for the victim, he’s still sore but Quinto said he was back to work at one of his 3 jobs because he has a wife and a baby, now to support. Now, his mechanical and medical bills are piling up because of what police are calling a mistaken case of vigilantism.
Van Bladel told KPIX 5 off-camera that he is completely innocent and was at home at the time. He said he doesn’t understand why police arrested him.
Another neighbor said there have been crimes in the neighborhood committed by people in a van, driving around, wearing masks. She said everyone is afraid.MORE NEWS: Veteran Detective Luca Benedetti Identified As San Luis Obispo Police Officer Killed In Shootout
Still, police checked the victim out and said there’s no connection between Tronconis and the recent crimes in the neighborhood.