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Ex-UFC fighter Ryan Jensen takes matters into his own hands, tracks down crooks who allegedly stole from him

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Ryan Jensen, crime fighter.

Jensen, the former UFC and Bellator competitor, was the victim of theft last week and took matters into his own hands. When the police just wanted to just take a report over the phone, Jensen tracked down the two suspects himself and helped bring them to justice. It turned out, the man and woman who stole from Jensen had also stolen five cars during a spree of larceny, according to WOWT in Nebraska.

Jensen was training and coaching at the gym he owns, Premier Combat Center in Omaha, last Thursday night, he told MMAFighting.com. When he left the facility to go home, Jensen noticed the trunk of his truck was open and his entire vehicle had been ransacked. Everything was gone, including his wallet and the scooter his daughter used to motor around the gym.

Jensen, his coaches and training partners went back inside and called the police. But law enforcement officials only wanted to take a report over the phone, Jensen said. That wasn't good enough. Jensen was worried, because his garage door opener was one of the things taken. He didn't want the thieves to break into his nearby home where his wife and two kids were.

"I'm thinking, they know how to get to my house and know how to get in," Jensen said. "If the cops aren't gonna do anything tonight, these guys will probably break in and steal my car."

If not worse. So Jensen popped up the surveillance tape from his parking lot and saw and man and a woman taking his things. He also noticed what kind of car they were driving. Then Jensen started getting notifications on his phone. The two crooks were running up his credit card at a local Walmart.

"When they started dinging my accounts, I was like shoot they're right up the street," Jensen said. "They've only spent $300, they're gonna keep on going. So I said I'm gonna run up there and see what this is."

Jensen got one of his teammates and drove to the Walmart. They used the car to barricade the suspects' car in a parking spot. The male thief was in the car and Jensen banged on the window.

"I knocked on the window real hard and was like, 'Hey dude, you got all my stuff. I want all my stuff back. The cops are coming. I got you blocked in, you're not going anywhere,'" Jensen said.

But when the man started reaching around in the car, Jensen feared he could be searching for a gun or a knife. So the fighter backed away. The man got out of the car and went inside the Walmart. Jensen followed.

"I made this huge scene and [phones] started coming out," Jensen said. "People started video taping me. I was running through yelling, 'Hey these guys are thieves. They just stole my stuff.' I was probably like 3 or 4 feet away from them. He started sprinting off away from me."

When Jensen wouldn't relent, the man got in his face. That wasn't the best idea against someone who has been a pro MMA fighter since 1997.

"He tried to get tough for a minute," Jensen said. "And I think I posted him up against like a bra aisle or something, clothing. I said, 'Look, bro, there's two things that are gonna happen. You're gonna sit right here and wait for the cops to show or I'm gonna end up beating you or choking you unconscious and the cops are gonna get you anyway. You pick.'"

The man, who has been reportedly identified as Michael Stafford, began apologizing. Walmart staffers saw the commotion and thought Jensen was the one doing something wrong. In the confusion, the man slipped away, but not for long. Police arrived and took Stafford and Cassandra Preiste into custody on multiple charges. Walmart workers later found Jensen's credit cards and identification cards in the store, where the pair had apparently tried to stash them.

Jensen was at first very angry about the situation and wanted nothing more than to teach Stafford a lesson. But when he saw them, Jensen felt like they were likely meth addicts and tweaking. At that point, the desire for revenge went away.

"The thought was, well, if we find them, we're gonna get them," Jensen said. "Going through my head I was pissed, like these dudes are gonna get beat. But you know, bunch of tweakers. Whatever. It's not worth going to jail for assault."

Cops found out later that Stafford and Prieste had allegedly stolen five cars and stashed them in a Southwest Omaha apartment complex. Jensen said he has been contacted by some victims thanking him.

"So that's kind of cool," he said. "If they did five, I bet you they've done more than that. They just haven't found them yet."

Jensen (20-8) is currently preparing for his next fight against Josh Rosaaen at Victory Fighting Championship 44 in Omaha. He won his lone Bellator fight last April against Mark Stoddard by first-round submission, but was not brought back when Scott Coker and his regime took over.

Jensen has won five in a row on the independent circuit, all by finish. He said if he beats Rosaaen next month and doesn't get called up to one of the big promotions, he's likely done with MMA and will focus on his gym.

"Either I'm fighting for the UFC or we'll see if any big fights come up," Jensen said. "But I'm not looking to be one of these guys fighting in the regional circuits just to fight. I've had a great career."

Hey, there's always law enforcement.