How to Prevent Front-Porch Thefts

By Vikki Vargas
|  Friday, Oct 25, 2013  |  Updated 11:20 PM PDT
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Home surveillance cameras captured a thief stealing a recently delivered box of expensive electronics from a Placentia porch. Police say cameras may help catch a thief and there are other non-technological ways to thwart theft, too. Vikki Vargas reports from Placentia for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Oct. 25, 2013.

Vikki Vargas

Home surveillance cameras captured a thief stealing a recently delivered box of expensive electronics from a Placentia porch. Police say cameras may help catch a thief and there are other non-technological ways to thwart theft, too. Vikki Vargas reports from Placentia for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Oct. 25, 2013.

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A woman was caught on camera swapping a package of expensive electronics with a nondescript box of books on the front step of an Orange County home this week in a relatively simple crime that police say is almost as simple to prevent.

Hong Nguyen received a notice from the post office that his $350 package of speaker supplies was just delivered about 2 p.m. Monday. But when he arrived home, the package on his door step didn’t look like it came through the mail.

“Basically, I saw a small box with no labeling on it all, so I had my suspicions,” he said.

Cameras outside Nguyen’s Placentia home caught the thief in action.

A woman carried a package to Nguyen’s front door, dropped it on the step and picked up his box of electronics. She tossed the speaker supplies in her Chrysler minivan and drove off.

Police said that cameras are great at recording an event, they’re not effective in preventing crimes since the threat of being caught on camera isn’t usually in the mind of a burglar.

More likely, they’re looking for an easy target and may be following mail trucks around to find it.

And since not everyone can equip their abode with digital eyes, police recommend these tips:

  • Put inside lights and radios on times, to give the appearance that someone is home;
  • Forward phone calls to another number because a smart thief may try to call before breaking in;
  • Ask a neighbor to take out the garbage and put it back because empty trash cans are a clear signal that no one is home;
  • Don’t be afraid to call police, if you have an inkling that something is wrong.

“If it’s enough to make you uneasy, you think something’s wrong and it’s a possible theft, call us so we can investigate,” said Sgt. Brad Butts, with the Placentia Police Department.

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