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Frontdoor Package Thief Caught on Security Camera

A Los Altos family wasn't expecting to produce a YouTube clip when they set up a surveillance camera system above their front porch before leaving town for the holidays.

After someone stole their mail in October, they just wanted to make sure any future thief wouldn't go unnoticed.

To their surprise, an empty box sat on the porch when they returned home Jan. 1. Missing was a package with Christmas presents that had been left on the front doorstep.

"This is a very nice neighborhood," said Julia Wetzel. "To have our mail stolen was shocking enough. But to have a package stolen, too ..."

Wetzel said when she cued up surveillance video shot from the cameras pointed at her home's front porch, she was stunned to see the footage from Dec. 26, 9:04 a.m.

It showed an attractive red-haired woman getting out of a gold Honda Accord, calmly walking up to the doorstep with the empty box and leaving with another -- the family's package, delivered days earlier. The woman returns to the car, driven by an accomplice, and leaves.

"My two girls lost their Christmas presents, a bracelet and key chain their aunt sent from Florida," Wetzel said. "They were probably worth about $50, but there's sentimental value."

Although there have been "similar circumstances with people picking up packages from porches," Los Altos police Sgt. Scott McCrossin called the holiday heist "brazen." Doorstep thefts often go unnoticed and unreported, he added.

Wetzel not only reported the crime but also posted the surveillance video of the theft on YouTube, which can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/packagethief.

And she sent a note to neighbors in her quiet cul-de-sac warning about the theft and asking them to keep an eye out for the car and the package pilferer.

"My first thought is, 'She's so young and she's stealing, what a shame,' " Wetzel said. "Such bad choices."

The vehicle the young thief rode in is described as a gold, mid-1990s model, four-door Honda Accord with black custom rims and front and rear spoilers.

Source: Mercury News

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