BOCA RATON, Fla. -- A Boca Raton man on the run from police was caught last Tuesday in part because he stopped to play with kittens, according to a report from our ABC affiliate WPBF.
Candace Noonan was getting her son ready for school at their Boca Raton home when a complete stranger walked up and opened the back sliding door.
"I said, 'Excuse me, can I help you?'" Noonan said. "He said, 'Oh, I'm so sorry. Next door, I'm mowing the lawn. Do you mind if I have a glass of water?'"
Thinking the man was a landscaper, Noonan obliged and went to get the man a bottle of water.
According to WPBF, Noonan was unaware that authorities said the man, who was identified as Daniel Pinedo Velapatino, 21, was running from police after leading officers from Delray Beach and Boca Raton on a wild chase, smashing into cars and a police cruiser.
When Noonan came back with a bottle of water, she said Velapatino had entered the house and was lying on the living room floor, playing with her cats.
"It was odd, very odd," Noonan said. "He was stroking my cat. It almost looked like he either was on drugs or he was mentally handicapped."
Noonan's husband started questioning Velapatino, and the stranger fled out the back door.
"We saw cop cars driving around the front of our house, and that's when we sort of put two and two together," Noonan said.
Police gave chase, and Velapatino tried to get away by jumping in a canal, but a police boat captured him.
Investigators said Velapatino had been up all night taking drugs at a friend's place. He is accused of stealing thousands of dollars in cash from a friend's wallet, crashing a Lexus into a number of cars, including a police cruiser and a fire hydrant before he fled on foot.
Investigators said Velapatino told them he needed the money because he owed his mother $2,000.