09/25/2014 01:39 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

L.A. Woman's Daring Rooftop Escape From Alleged Home Intruder Caught On Camera

Melora Rivera was half-naked and out of options.

The intruder who allegedly busted into her Los Angeles home on Wednesday morning was not someone she was immediately prepared to deal with, so she grabbed her phone, fled out the window and hid under the eaves. She said she'd been in bed when the break-in occurred, and was wearing only a flannel shirt.

“Once I saw him in the house, I knew that we both couldn’t be there. I knew that I didn’t want to have a confrontation with him of any sort, you know, not knowing what his intention was,” Rivera told KCAL.

Witnesses snapped photos of the incident, including the terrifying moment when the alleged intruder climbed out on the roof. Cops and firefighters responded and used a ladder to get Rivera down. Officers eventually got the man to surrender.

The alleged invader was Christian Hicks, 29, a mentally ill homeless man who was apprehended in the same neighborhood earlier that day after a neighbor called police to complain that he was in her yard. Cops said they had to let Hicks go the first time because the neighbor wouldn't identify him in person.

Once Hicks was out of handcuffs, it didn't take him long to get in trouble again.

Rivera, who lives in L.A.'s Venice neighborhood, says it's a failure of the system that puts people at risk.

“I think it’s very obvious for most of us who live around here, when someone seems to be suffering from a mental illness, and to continue to let these people walk around without offering them assistance, to protect them and us. That, I think, is the heart of the problem,” she said.

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