Mormon missionaries thwart burglars-to-be - FOX 35 News Orlando

Mormon missionaries thwart burglars-to-be

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MESA, Ariz. -

They were suspected of breaking into homes in Mesa. But it wasn't security cameras or even police officers that led to their capture. It was Mormon missionaries on their way home from their missionary work who stopped the crime.

Fighting crime isn't something most young members of the LDS church ever expect to do while on their mission. But a pair of Mormon missionaries came to the rescue, busting a pair of suspected would-be burglars.

The two missionaries, from Utah, are in the Phoenix area sharing their faith with others. They admit it can be dangerous.

Tuesday night, they got back from doing mission work when they stopped a burglary in progress at neighbor Raina Eames' house. They believe it was no mistake.

"My companion was like, man he's robbing the place and I was like nah…"

Elder Corey Brown and his fellow Mormon missionary were talking outside their Mesa home Tuesday night when they saw a man leave their neighbor's house with an arm full of laptops and jewelry. It was around 8 p.m. Surveillance video from their house captured it.

"We're like, hey we know the people who live here and you don't live here, and he started to get really nervous," says Brown.

The elders called 911 as they followed the man, and watched him put the loot in a car that a woman was driving.

"We were like, 'what are you doing here' and she's like, 'oh I was just at this house right here. I wanted to use their phone.' I was like, oh ok," says Brown.

The two elders, wearing their signature white button-ups, ties, nametags, and their black suit jackets, wondered if their attire confused the suspects -- who may have mistaken them for law enforcement.

"She's like, 'I don't want to get in trouble or anything can I leave?'"

The elders stalled. A neighbor captured cell phone video when police arrived.

Police arrested the woman driver, Cynthia Espinosa-Elizalde, but her male accomplice got away by running southbound on Spencer.

Police believe these two may have been involved in at least one other attempted burglary. Just a couple miles away at a house Monday night, police believe the two broke in, thinking no one was home. But boy, were they wrong.

"I pulled my gun on them and he ran right when I pulled it," says homeowner Jameson Wimbish.

Thanks to the missionaries' work, Raina Eames got her belongings back. The elders have only been staying at the Mesa house for a month and a half, but Eames says they've been a delight.

She and her family were out to dinner when the break-in happened.

"From the time we left it was a total of four minutes that they got into our house, jumped over and luckily the missionaries pulled up and were right there to stop them," says Eames.

"I really believe that God is working through all of us and nothing is a coincidence, it all happens for a reason," says Brown.

Elder Brown admits he didn't think about the suspect possibly having a weapon until after the fact. Eames is glad no one was hurt.

The female suspect told police two different men were involved in the burglaries but only identified them as Matt and Louis.

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