‘I had a gun:’ Neighbor steps up to stop thieves, but they get away naked

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DENVER -- We've all seen signs for neighborhood watch groups, but a Denver family is giving thanks after their neighbors did much more than watch. They sprang into action and embarrassed the criminals in the process.

Two men burglarized Dave and Christy Gannon’s home last week, while they were on vacation in Florida.

“You’re helpless, you can’t do anything,” Dave Gannon said. “You’re thousands of miles away.”

Helplessness is just one of many feelings the family experienced.

“We went through all the stages of grief and anger and frustration … and anger again,” Christy Gannon said with a laugh.

They also felt a bit betrayed by their two dogs.

“They just laid down the whole time I think,” Christy Gannon said.

But their neighbors did not let them down. The family has many of its belongings back thanks to a neighborhood effort that began with their 13-year-old dog Walker, who visited the home during the burglary.

“She unlocked the front door and came in and noticed that all of this stuff was on the ground in front of her in backpacks,” Christy Gannon said. “She knew that something was wrong and so her adrenaline kicked in and she backed out and she went next door to the neighbor’s house to call the police.”

Once the girl entered, the two men grabbed as much as they could and ran into the backyard, and jumped the back fence. That’s when they got a surprise of their own.

“I had a gun and I told them to get down on their hands and knees,” said Michael Velez, who lives behind the Gannons.

Velez said the two men were young and so he decided to teach them a lesson.

“I made them strip down to their skivvies and walked them up to the corner,” Velez said.

Despite wearing nothing but their underwear, the two took off running before police arrived. Velez did not open fire.

“They were young kids and I told them, you’re lucky you’re going to see your next birthday,” he said.

The Gannons said they also feel lucky to have such great neighbors.

“Thank you, I appreciate it so much,” Christy Gannon said during a meeting with Velez on Tuesday. “Can I give you a hug?”

Though the two men got away, another neighbor saw them jump into a white Chevrolet Monte Carlo or Malibu with no license plates.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers.