Police: Man arrested after allegedly robbing missionaries

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Two men on a mission trip became the victims of a crime in Oklahoma City.

Authorities were called to the city’s southwest side after learning about a robbery near S.W. 40th St. and Ross Ave.

The victims are in Oklahoma on a two-year mission trip with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Neither victim got hurt in the holdup, but it was a scary experience for the two men.

“These two guys were like hey and waved,” said Mark Taylor. “I was thinking these guys want to hear the gospel.”

Instead of hearing the gospel, Juan Valenzuela and a second man allegedly pulled out a knife and demanded the victims hand over their phones, wallets and watches.

“I was like are you serious? I’m here to serve the Lord, I’m not here for problems,” said Christian Santamaria.

“As missionaries we don’t carry a lot of cash,” said Taylor. “I wasn’t going to fight. I was like, ‘Here you go. Don’t hurt me.'”

“Both victims did what was the right thing. They cooperated with the suspects. That’s what we encourage victims to do,” said Oklahoma City police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow.

Police say they caught Valenzuela, who lives just a short distance away, with one the victims wallets still in hand.

For their part, the victims don’t hold any ill will toward the alleged thieves.

“I hope they feel bad for their actions,” said Santamaria. “I hope they learn from it so they can become better people.”

The first suspect remains behind bars at the Oklahoma County jail.

So far, police have not arrested the second suspect.

Anyone with information on that man is asked to contact police.

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