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Police: Vigilante group held up suspected truck thief in OfferUp sting

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EVERETT – Police arrested a suspected thief after a small group of vigilantes tracked him down and set-up an informal sting operation.

Officers were called to a report of two armed men holding another man down on the ground Wednesday morning in the parking lot of an Everett Safeway store.

When officers arrived, the men pointing their weapons at the person on the ground told police they were making a citizen’s arrest, police said. They believed the man was selling stolen property.

According to Everett Police, a 57-year-old man had his work truck stolen in Seattle earlier this month. The victim monitored popular online classifieds and found tools identical to the ones he owned being sold on the OfferUp app.

The victim agreed to buy what he believed were his stolen tools. He traveled to Everett with two friends who were armed. When the men arrived, two suspects got out of a car and tried to sell tools from the trunk. The victim and his friends confronted the suspects about stealing the tools, and one of the suspects took off.

The victim’s friends drew their guns and pointed it at the remaining suspect. Police arrived shortly after.

The remaining suspect was arrested on suspicion of trafficking stolen property. The vehicle he arrived in was not the victim’s but was also stolen, police said.

The suspect who ran was not found.

Police are looking into whether the men committed a crime by pointing their guns at the alleged thieves in the parking lot. The tools found in their truck were the victim’s, police said.

Officer Aaron Snell with the Everett Police Department encouraged people not to try to recover stolen on their own. He said it’s important to call the police and let them set up any sort of sting operation.

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