Cell phones help Goldsboro police track vehicle stolen by teens, officials say

Jose Avendano, 18, and Erik Penaloza, 18 (Goldsboro Police)

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – Goldsboro police said victims’ cell phones inside a stolen vehicle were used to track the car’s location on Sunday.

Just after 10:30 a.m., a woman told police she was using the ATM at the Wilco-Hess, located at 1501 U.S. Highway 70 West when she was approached by two men.

Goldsboro police later identified those men as Jose Avendano, 18, and Erik Penaloza, 18, both of Albertson in Duplin County.

One of the suspects pulled out a silver gun and pointed it at the victim while demanding everything, police said.

The victim said she was startled and did not give the men anything.

Avendano and Penaloza then drove off in the victim’s 2009 Nissan Versa.

Cell phones belonging to the victim, her husband and child were still inside the Versa as Avendano and Penaloza left the scene. Those cell phones were used to track the vehicle’s location, police said.

Goldsboro police tracked the vehicle to Brookside Open Air Market where Avendano and Penaloza were taken in to custody without incident.

Officers located a .38 caliber revolver at the scene.

The Versa was undamaged in the incident.

Avendano and Penaloza were each charged with felony robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony second-degree kidnapping, felony larceny of a motor vehicle, felony possession of stolen goods, and misdemeanor assault by pointing a gun.

Penaloza faces additional charges of simple possession of a schedule VI substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Avendano and Penaloza transported to the Wayne County Detention Facility under an $800,000 secured bond each.

They are scheduled to appear in court Monday.

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