Packages swiped from front porches

Published: Nov. 19, 2011 at 2:18 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2011 at 3:57 AM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – NBC12 has uncovered a crime alert that may make you think twice about getting packages delivered to your front door. Bold crooks are swiping them right from your front porch. There has been a rash of these crimes in Richmond's Church Hill neighborhood.

We all know the feeling of anticipation when you simply can't wait for a package to arrive on your doorstep. For many in Church Hill recently, thieves turned that excitement into disappointment.

For awhile the disappearing act baffled Josh Conrad.

"It's definitely frustrating to know that we'd come home and things wouldn't be here," he explained.

UPS would tell him they delivered items like work and electronics accessories multiple times, but someone's sticky fingers prevented those packages from ever making it into his hands.

"It's frustrating to know that someone would think it's alright to walk up on someone's property and take something," he told us.

Conrad isn't the only one. Between August and November, fifteen similar larcenies were reported. The Richmond Police Department cracked the case thanks to a citizen tip. He saw one of the suspects take a package off the porch and open it, then he called police.

Lt. Cynthia Riley said the investigation snowballed linking three people to the thefts. Ronald Powers and Sheila Taylor are facing grand larceny charges, while Jazmine Taylor is still on the loose.

"They would just follow the UPS trucks around as they were dropping the packages onto porches," she explained. "They would just go right in behind them and pick them up."

With the holiday shopping season ahead and plenty of packages to be delivered, we asked Riley for tips to avoid becoming a target.

"You can have it so that either somebody has to sign for your package at your residence or they can arrange to have that package dropped off with a neighbor if they know they're home," she suggested.

Conrad has learned that lesson the hard way.

"Just leave us a packing slip," he has told the delivery person. "I'd rather come and pick it up from a distribution center than come home and it's not here."

If you know where police can find Jazmine Taylor call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000. Police told NBC12 a fourth suspect could be involved in these thefts but they haven't completed that part of the investigation just yet.

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