Cell phone vigilantes find stolen phone on internet, nearly get shot when they confront man

Stolen phone showed up on website "OfferUp"
Posted at 9:38 PM, Oct 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-08 00:58:42-04

ARVADA, Colo. -- Two cousins thought they came up with the perfect plan to get a stolen cell phone back, but there was one problem: they didn't expect the man to bring a gun.

Cousins Vince Espinoza and Ben Bennett decided to meet the man up in the parking lot of the Arvada Sam's Club on West 52nd Avenue.

Espinoza bought his niece a cell phone as a reward for bringing home a perfect report card. He said someone stole the phone, a Samsung Galaxy S7, out of a car earlier this week. He started scouring the internet looking for the phone when they came across it on a website called 'OfferUp.'

They arranged a meeting with the seller. Espinoza decided to confront the man saying, "I told the guy this is my phone." He said instantly the man's demeanor changed and he reached for a gun.

As the man tried to pull out his gun, both cousins reached for Tasers they were carrying with them. Bennett ran up to the man and pointed the Taser at his face; he said that's when the man took off and got in a blue Mercedes SUV.

When asked if they realized it might be dangerous to retrieve the stolen phone, Bennett replied, "Yeah, but I don't know. That's one of my favorite things to do is walk through bad neighborhoods at night."

Before the man took off, Espinoza got the phone back. They called police after the incident. According to the cousins, an officer who showed up told them "You're lucky you didn't get shot."

Denver7 reached out to the Arvada Police Department for comment.