Man tracks down wife's purse thief; thief sentenced in court

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - One man took matters into his own hands when suspects stole his wife's purse. It ended with two suspects behind bars.

CSPD said Breanna Barnett and Aaron Dungy were arrested in the case.

"Me and my wife, we’re not just going to sit around and be the victim," Mike said back in March.

Mike -- who doesn't want to use his last name -- and his wife went for a quick walk one Saturday evening at Palmer Park in Colorado Springs.

"We did a 14-minute loop just to enjoy the sunshine," said Mike.

But when they came back, their car window was smashed and his wife's purse was stolen. It had been hidden under the seat.

"Noticed that the window was busted out and my purse was missing with the sweater that was covering it," she said.

“It’s a little unnerving to think that somebody could just do that to anybody and it was broad daylight," Mike said. "There was lots of people coming in and out, and it was just a quick smash and grab.”

They called police right away.

"The officers said, 'Look, you don't know who it is, we don't know who it is. There's no suspects, just go home,'" Mike told 11 News. "And that wasn't enough for me."

His wife called to cancel their credit cards.

"I got on to call the card company to close down the accounts," she said.

Except they left one card open.

"I decided to keep mine open because on my phone I do have an app for one of my credit cards, and I can usually track my purchases, and I thought, 'If they buy anything, they can only buy on my card, and if they buy on my card, I can trace it,'" Mike said.

Suddenly, he got an alert.

"The first thing I saw as I'm scrolling through the app is a liquor store purchase of about $28," he said.

They rushed to the store and explained what happened.

"I got to take pictures of the surveillance and get a woman's photograph," he said.

Then, another alert -- this time at the Citadel Mall.

"I have another alert that I had just purchased about $770 worth of stuff at the Buckle in the Citadel Mall," Mike said. "I go straight to the Buckle and I show a picture to a lady who's behind the desk and I say, 'Have you seen this person?' And they said, 'Yes she was here.'"

"I told them that they stole our credit cards just recently, and the girl there said, 'Text me pictures,'" Mike added. "She texts them to the whole security team at Citadel Mall."

Now it's a group effort. Then, yet again, Mike gets another alert on his phone.

“I realized they’re hitting a bunch of vending machines," he said. "By the time I go back up the escalator to find the vending machines, they're both surrounded by five or six security guards."

"When I run up I said, ‘That’s them,’” Mike said.

Police told 11 News that 21-year-old Breanna Barnett and 42-year-old Aaron Dungy were arrested in the case.

Mike told 11 News that police found several other IDs and credit cards.

Barnett was sentenced eight months later on November 29. She pleaded guilty to charges in connection with several cases and the judge gave her four years of supervised probation.

Mike said it only took him about an hour to track down the suspects.

“It took me an hour and 10 minutes with my app to track them down and capture them," he said.

"The police said, 'We've been really understaffed lately; why don't you go down and apply at the police academy,'" Mike said. "I don't know if they were joking or not."

The couple wants to thank everyone who helped them, including the officers.

"I understand that their job is very difficult," Mike said. "You’ve got to understand that they’re very busy, so in a situation like mine, I, unfortunately, couldn’t wait for them to act. I had to act on my own if I was going to protect my wife and her security.”

In that time, he said the suspects racked up nearly $1,000 worth of charges on his card. So far, he was able to get some of the money back. He also said his car has a couple hundred dollars' worth of damage.

His wife is happy to have her purse back.

“It’s amazing. I honestly didn’t think I would ever get it back," she said.

She wants to remind other hikers to keep their items safe.

"Take everything with you or leave it at home," she added.

Talk about taking the law into your own hands.

“Obviously it doesn’t pay to steal and it will always catch up with you," Mike added. "I just really want to get my wife’s stuff back."