At around 5:00 p.m., senior Rocco Allenstein engaged in a physical altercation with two middle-aged African-American males who were attempting to break into his 2006 Porsche Cayenne in the front parking lot of Redwood.
As Allenstein approached his vehicle after leaving early from wrestling practice, he saw two men near his car. One was inside the car and the other was standing guard.
“My initial reaction was just thinking, ‘How am I going to hit this guy.’ I knew exactly what was happening. I could see them scoping out the lot and the one guy just got into my car and I just ran at them,” Allenstein said.
Earlier today, Allenstein had left his keys in a friend’s car, leaving his car unlocked. Allenstein had hidden the valuables in his car from view to decrease the chance of a break-in.
According to Allenstein, he had left wrestling practice feeling nervous when walking towards the parking lot. Although his valuables were out of sight, Allenstein knew that an unlocked car was an easy target.
According to Allenstein, he chose not to call the police in hopes of taking immediate and more effective action. He initially ran up to one man and swung at him, landing a brief hit before being pushed back into the car behind him.
Grabbing the man by the neck, Allenstein remembers regaining control moments before the second man stepped out of his car. At that point, Allenstein says he minimized his aggression out of fear of being overpowered by the combined force of the two men.
“By that point I didn’t really want it to escalate and I was like, ‘If you guys just leave right now I won’t keep this going.’ So they were like, ‘Alright, alright,’ and that was that,” Allenstein said.
As Allenstein has been jumped twice before, he feared the possibility that one or both of the perpetrators were in possession of a gun. He attempted to reason with the men with hopes of leaving the situation without harm to himself. According to Allenstein, he believes the perpetrators were caught off guard by his defensive actions and weren’t expecting a physical altercation.
“Assuming that these break-ins have happened before, I think people know that this is an affluent community and wealthy kids aren’t very concerned about this stuff. It’s an easily targeted community because everyone is pretty relaxed about this kind of thing,” Allenstein said.
Although there has been a lull in car break-ins since the spree earlier this year, Allenstein believes it is still important to stay on high alert and take caution by keeping valuables out of sight.
“I think we didn’t expect this to happen again, but for me I always expect someone to do something bad. I don’t think that we are in a safe place just because this is a wealthy area. I think wherever you are there is going to be crime,” Allenstein said.
Following the car break-ins, Allenstein received a personal phone call from David Sondheim regarding his altercation with the two men. According to Allenstein, he was surprised by the immediate action taken by administration and Sondheim’s concern for his personal safety.
“In reality I think that the administration is doing everything they can. It’s just a matter of kids being smart with their valuables and their cars. It’s my fault. I’m not going to play the victim and say I didn’t leave my car unlocked, because I did,” Allenstein said.
In an email sent out to the Redwood community, Sondheim urged students and parents to take precaution regarding their personal belongings and to report suspicious behavior in the parking lots.
“Report any suspicious persons loitering around or near the parking lot, walking idly near or around the cars, and people who don’t seem to have a specific purpose for being on school grounds. Thank you for your help and cooperation eliminating Redwood as a target for thieves,” Sondheim said in the email.