Lemon Grove Man Fights Off Female Burglar: Richard Sowards Says He Fought Off Merlizeth Lescana In His Home

LEMON GROVE, Calif. -- A Lemon Grove man said he ended up in a fierce struggle with a woman trying to burglarize his home.

Richard Sowards said he just went to the store for a few minutes to pick up some dog food.

When he returned, he said he found a strange woman in his house. She was carrying his laundry basket which was filled with a jewelry box and some computers.

The woman ran into the backyard but the fences were too tall for her to make an escape. The woman then ran back inside the home straight toward Sowards.

"[She] came back in and attacked me, trying to get out and as I'm trying to call the police, she keeps knocking the phone out of my hand," he said. "She's trying to call somebody on her phone so we're fighting but trying to make cell phone calls. I finally got my girlfriend on the phone and she called police."

Sowards added, "I was trying to hold her for police and she hit me with a flower pot over the head. She hit me and we were wrestling and she cut me across the leg with a broken piece of pottery."

He said the woman ran out onto the porch.

"I grab her by her belt as she tries to jump over my front railing," said Sowards. "I grab her by her belt and she just takes her pants off and slides out and keeps running so I get her by the shirt and she takes her shirt off and keeps running. She ends up leaving her phone and her shoes and was running down the street practically naked."

Several neighbors were outside and heard the struggle.

"She's in the front yard. I'm trying to hold her for the police but she's naked so she starts screaming rape and my neighbors… they know me but what do you do when somebody's yelling rape? So I kind of let her go," said Sowards.

The woman suspected in the burglary was traced by her abandoned cell phone.

Sheriff's deputies have an arrest warrant out for 24-year old Merlizeth Lescana, who is suspected in the incident. She is described as about 5 feet tall and 100 to 120 pounds. She has brown eyes, long black hair and tattoos on her upper shoulders.

Sowards said despite her size, she had tremendous strength.

"She had no problem lifting me up on her back and running me into walls," he said.

He said she was fast as well.

"She was running like Carl Lewis… didn't care that she didn't have shoes and wasn't wearing clothes. She was sprinting," said Sowards.

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