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August 31, 2015

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Victim interrupts theft, finds thief left behind cellphone, pickup truck and girlfriend

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Christopher DeVargas

George Harris, co-owner of Mundo, Thursday Oct. 11, 2012.

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A Republican activist who owns a tequila distillery and a downtown restaurant believes he might have two new candidates for America’s Dumbest Criminals.

As they fled on foot, a man and woman who stripped a stereo from the truck of George Harris left their cellphones, a purse and pickup truck with personalized license plates.

Harris, who owns downtown’s Mundo restaurant and Alien Tequila, said the two worked on his truck outside his southwest-side office as he napped early Sunday. When Harris came out to greet them with a 9 mm Glock, they ran away.

“I had the drop on them,” said Harris, a former Clark County GOP chairman who also ran for mayor of Las Vegas in 2011.

When Metro officers arrived, they were all smiles, Harris said.

“Might be the easiest case they’ve ever had,” he said.

Harris was at his office, in a warehouse area south of Tropicana Avenue and east of Interstate 15, doing paperwork for a new shipment of his Alien Tequila. Around 1:30 a.m., he decided to take a nap before driving home.

Noise outside awoke him, so he grabbed his pistol. He saw a vehicle parked next to his truck and a man in the driver’s seat of his truck.

“If you move a muscle, I’ll shoot,” Harris recalled saying to the man.

The man, who had already removed Harris’ stereo, froze for a minute, then ran into the night.

As he fled, the man yelled back desperately for someone else to drive off in the man’s pickup. Harris hadn’t even known someone else was there. Then he spotted a woman in the other vehicle and lowered his weapon at her. She, too, ran into the night.

Why didn’t Harris shoot?

"I didn't feel threatened," he said. If I had felt threatened, I would have shot and killed them."

Harris said the man had no weapon. Police got the call at 3:44 a.m. Harris said they told him if he had shot someone, he probably would have gone to jail.

"It's just not worth it,” Harris said in retrospect.

He said he did, however, exact some satisfaction in the thief's reaction.

“I’m 99 percent sure he wet his pants,” Harris said.

Harris also chuckled about what the thief might face from his date.

“If this was the guy’s girlfriend, I guess he’ll have some explaining to do,” about why he ran off without her, Harris said.

Maybe they’ll be able to talk about it while being booked into jail, Harris said. Police, he added, have a pretty good idea who the two are from all the evidence left at the scene, including the woman’s purse and two cellphones.

Harris said the vehicle break-in did almost $3,000 damage to his truck.

As of Tuesday, Harris said, no arrests had been made. Metro said the caper was still under investigation.

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