San Francisco

San Francisco Exchange Student Hit with Medical Bills After Helping Nab Suspected Car Vandal

San Francisco police were able to catch a car vandal thanks to a tip received from a witness. But unfortunately the Good Samaritan is paying a price for doing the right thing.

Exchange student Lisa Simon lost her dog when the suspect chased her and her roommate down the street for calling police on him. Simon, who is taking classes at the Academy of Art, is now mired in thousands of dollars in medical bills after her dog, Achilles, was found after the incident with a broken leg.

Seeing the 9-month-old Siberian Husky in pain is heartbreaking for Simon, who adopted Achilles after moving to the United States from Luxembourg.

"He wants to play. He wants to run, and now he's limited," Simon said.

Last Monday, Simon and her roommate, Valerie Fletcher, were walking home with Achilles near Industrial Street and Revere Avenue when they heard glass breaking.

The noise was a man breaking into cars. After noticing them, the car vandal approached the roommates and asked if they saw anything.

"And he's like, 'I'm going to kill the both of you,'" Simon said.

Simon and Fletcher take off running and call 911 while the suspect chases after them with a crowbar. During the chase, Fletcher makes a tough decision and lets go of Achilles.

"I had to let him go out of my hands just because this guy was looming on me after I fell," Fletcher said.

Police were able to arrest the suspect shortly after Simon called 911.

"She saw this person committing a crime," SFPD Officer Carlos Manfredi said. "She potentially stopped him from breaking more car windows."

But Achilles is found hours later with a broken femur and hip bone.

The roommates take out a loan to partially pay for surgery so Achilles can avoid amputation. Both Simon and Fletcher still owe thousands of dollars. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for the costs.

"Even if he had a surgery and it made me bankrupt, I'd do it," Simon said.

Police said the suspect has been charged with vandalism and aggravated assault.

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