Authorities: Bellerose Village man fatally stabbed thief he caught trying to steal car parts

Detectives say Jacob Alvarenga Mejia fatally stabbed a Bronx man with a large kitchen knife.

Kevin Vesey

May 26, 2023, 9:37 PM

Updated 356 days ago

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Authorities say a Bellerose Village man has been charged with assault and manslaughter in the fatal stabbing of a man he caught trying to steal parts off his car.
Jacob Alvarenga Mejia was arraigned Friday. His bond was set at $1 million.
Detectives say Mejia was at his home on May 13 at around 1:30 a.m. when he saw three men attempting to steal wheel rims and tires from his parked car.
They say the 28-year-old walked outside of his home with a large kitchen knife and confronted them. Investigators say the three suspected thieves attempted to get away, but Mejia stabbed one of them in the back.
"As they were getting into the car, Mr. Mejia came up from behind and the last individual trying to get into the car, he stabbed multiple times in the back," said Detective Capt. Stephen Fitzpatrick.
The victim, 22-year-old Luis Pena from the Bronx, was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.
Neighbors say they understand the need to protect one's property, but they say the suspected thief did not deserve to die.
"If his life was not in danger, you cannot take life over rims," says Michael Khalil, of Bellerose Village. "As annoying as the crime is take the license plate, call the authorities and have them deal with it appropriately."
Police say shots may have been fired from the suspected car thieves' vehicle following the stabbing.
They say Mejia had his catalytic converters stolen two months ago, which made hip snap when he saw his rims and tires being taken.
Criminal defense attorney Anthony La Pinta says Mejia did have the right to use force to protect his property, but probably not deadly force.
"You cannot use deadly physical force to protect your property," La Pinta says. "You're allowed to use deadly physical force when there's deadly physical force posed against you."


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