ROANOKE Co., Va. - Roanoke County police are hoping the video you see above can help save Christmas for one family. The thief was caught on camera stealing packages that most certainly are not his. The family is unfortunately not the only one as police are working a half dozen more cases like this.
It may be the best investment the homeowner had made yet, catching a thief on camera, in broad daylight, stealing packages that were just delivered earlier in the day to their north Roanoke County home.
"It's a real life Grinch if you will, you know somebody who is stealing the physical presents and the Christmas cheer away from the holiday," Roanoke County Officer Thurman Butts said.
It's a fairly simple crime, packages get dropped off and then someone else swoops in. Officer Butts said six other families have been hit in similar incidents. It's nothing new and always spikes during the holiday season, but this is the first time they've caught it on camera.
The do it yourself if you will style doorbells with surveillance systems and becoming more and more common," Butts said.
As porch piracy continues to be a growing thing in our communities, police said surveillance cameras actually make a huge difference, not only in identifying the person that's doing it, but also in helping to get a conviction. And with some of the cameras running as cheap as $25, they said if you're a frequent online shopper, having on of them is a no-brainer.
"It's irrefutable evidence and partially because this camera is as small as it is, he doesn't even know that it's there," Butts said while reviewing the north county video.
Butts said an arrest is likely in this case, The man faces grand larceny charges, which puts a value of the stolen goods at more than $500. He said it's best to just avoid this all together by protecting yourself and your deliveries. Whether that means holding your package at a store for pickup or having your neighbor grab it for you, anything can help.
Although if you do get hit, having a camera for backup is helpful, and will be key in the north county case.
"Once we get a good lead on the suspect we will be able to cross reference the video with anybody that we identify as a potential suspect so it's basically going to be used as supporting evidence in our investigation," Butts said.
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