EXCLUSIVE: Beauty queen helps cops catch crooks

SPRING GARDEN - October 9, 2010

You can now add crime fighter to her resume.

Guzman operates a performing arts academy above a check cashing store on North Broad Street. That location, plus her quick thinking, led to the arrest of two suspects in an attempted burglary early Saturday morning.

The men arrested have been identified as 23-year-old Aaron Downing and 18-year-old Eric Howell of the 1800 block of Vineyard Street.

It all began with a break-in back on September 30th. Guzman came to her studio on the second flood and discovered someone had actually dug through her dance floor to get into that check cashing business below.

The thieves even jammed a ladder in the hole for easier access.

It turned out the thievery wasn't limited to the check cashing store: The bandits also made off with Guzman's laptop computer and professional video camera.

The bad guys went in and out through the attic. The weak spots were then closed off, but on Friday night Guzman noticed someone had made a new small hole with a crowbar.

"I could tell someone was prying it," she said.

Sensing the thieves were planning a return, Guzman convinced relatives to camp out with her in the studio and wait.

At 3:30 a.m., their patience paid off.

"All of a sudden I hear knocking," said Guzman.

It was the sound of someone prying out the bricks to open a hole in the attic wall.

"I called the cops right away, I called 911. From there, everyone ran outside," she said.

Guzman and her relatives ran to the back of the building, and police arrived soon after.

"The cops, luckily, came in two minutes. It was great," said Guzman.

Then, from an upper window, Guzman said police saw a man hiding near the bricks.

"One detective came up and said 'Freeze! Don't move! I'll shoot!" said Guzman.

A fire department ladder was brought in, two men surrender, and a sleep-deprived Guzman was happy with the outcome.

"I don't want anyone taking advantage of situations like this over and over again, whether it be me or anyone else," said Guzman.

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