Home Video Captures Package Thief Stealing Loot - NBC Southern California


Home Video Captures Package Thief Stealing Loot

Opportunists are seeking quick loot or personal information such as credit card information in package thefts from porches of homes



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    A day before her birthday, Toni Thomas received a special delivery on her front lawn.

    It was courtesy of a neighbor, recorded on Thomas' surveillance system, returning the empty box that was discarded in his yard.

    What had been inside?

    It was a Michael Kors handbag, a gift from Thomas' family.

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    A review of more surveillance video shows what happened.

    "I knew what time the postman came, so we watched it being delivered," Thomas said. "About an hour and a half later we saw someone come up to the door.

    "I see her shadow, but I'm just like, 'Oh, my God! Oh, my God.' I just wanted to know who is this person?"

    The unidentified woman is a thief, the person who steals Thomas' new handbag -- ignoring security signs and the camera, which is visible.

    Renee Focht, a postal inspector, said that if it's a package, they're looking for merchandise. If they're stealing a letter, they could be looking for information.

    Focht said parcel deliveries have increased with the popularity of online shopping. Despite the theft being a federal offense, there's no shortage of people willing to risk a five-year prison term, she said.

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    Package thieves have even followed the trucks, Focht said.

    Thomas has turned over the surveillance video and the possible getaway car to postal inspectors, who've offered some advice -- protect your mail just like you lock your front door.

    Thomas' gift was a surprise delivery.

    She never had an opportunity to protect the package, a violation that's left her feeling as empty as the box.

    "It's all I can think about ... How do we catch this person?"

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