KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A retired cop helped catch two men suspected of a string of vehicle break-ins, but not before one of the suspects punched a victim in the face.
Police recovered two stolen trucks and responded to half-a-dozen car break-ins in several neighborhoods just northwest of The Legends shopping area Friday morning.
Police said they received a call from the retired officer of 27 years who had just confronted the suspects outside his home. Minutes later police found the two suspects walking on Leavenworth Road near a 135th Street. Detectives think the two had been driving a stolen Chevy truck that was found just a few blocks away. They had already recovered another stolen truck in a neighborhood where they were investigating several car break-ins.
The crime spree ended shortly after the two suspects were seen cutting the screen to a back window of a home near 128th and Sewell. That was the home of the retired officer.
Police say both men face several charges.
Officers were first tipped off to the suspects when they got a call about a car theft in progress in the 2500 block of north 109th Terrace. That’s when they got a description of the pair and their car from one man who wouldn’t give up family property without fight.
Joshua Zuniga said he even chased one of the suspects to his getaway car and was assaulted while confronting the man. Zuniga said he was playing video game around 4:30 a.m. when he spotted one of the suspects rummaging through his father’s car.
“I ran out the front door and I was like, ‘What are you doing? He ran away. He was like oh crap, oh crap, oh crap,” said Zuniga.
He chased the suspect, who managed to get to his car. The man got away only after fighting off a determined Zuniga.
“He was pulling his feet through the window to drive away, and he punched me in the face,” Zuniga said. “And I had a hold of his shirt still, and then he sped off in his truck, and they dropped an i-Pod and some other things they took from the car.”
He then went inside and called police.
“Fortunately, he was able to give us a very good description both of the suspects and the vehicle,” said Kansas City Kansas Police Officer Thomas Thomasic.
Thanks to the description, police were able to pick up the two men after they reportedly ripped off several other people.
Zuniga is glad to hear that police have someone in custody and he hopes the items stolen from his father’s car will soon be returned.