Oklahoma couple leads to arrest of alleged thief after spotting stolen van

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A metro couple took the law into their own hands after spotting a stolen van and then following the suspect until the chase ended in a crash.

“I can admit I was scared,” Brenda Barnes said. “Not knowing what could’ve happened out there.”

Brenda Barnes and her husband were sitting at a metro 7-Eleven at the right place and time.

“We said, ‘There’s that van that was on television missing,’” William Fisher said.

Little did they know they would now be part of News 4’s on-going story.

Last week, the non-profit Peaceful Family Solutions reported its van was stolen.

The organization uses the van to help children who come from homes broken by addiction.

“It’s extremely valuable to us,” Executive Director of Peaceful Family Solutions Ted Streuli said.

The thief crawled through a back window of the non-profit’s headquarters, grabbed the keys and took off.

The valuable van was allegedly serving as Jerry Martin’s getaway vehicle.

That is until Brenda and her husband spotted him.

The van vigilantes went more than 90 miles per hour, taking the law into their own hands.

In a panic, they stayed on the phone with 911 as the pursuit began.

“Brenda, they wanted you to go that way,” Will Fisher said on the 911 call.

“Did you hear me?” 911 operator said.

“Yes, she missed a turn,” Fisher said.

The two vehicles flew down I-40. Police eventually caught up and took over.

“He could’ve shot at us,” Barnes said. “We had guardian angels.”

The chase came to a screeching halt a few miles away. Martin crashed into a fence before he was handcuffed.

Peaceful Solutions’ van is now back home with minor damage.

“All of it is a very bold break-in and theft,” Streuli said.

And word spread fast about the quick actions of the good Samaritans.

“They said, ‘You guys were the ones chasing it down?’” Barnes said. “I was like, ‘Yeah duh.’”

Martin sits in the Oklahoma County Jail facing several charges.

Police tell News 4 drugs were also found inside the van when he was arrested.

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