Weeks of police-neighbor vigilance led to the arrest of an alleged mail package-swiper—only to have someone else commit a similar theft hours later.
That’s the latest news from the SoHu (“South of Humphrey” Street) section of the East Rock neighborhood.
Last month a neighbor’s surveillance camera recorded a man removing a package from a porch then leaving in a getaway car. Similar thefts had been reported in the area. The Independent published the video (above; story here), and new neighborhood top cop Lt. Ken Blanchard met with neighbors about trying to catch the guy. Neighbors kept funneling police information about alleged thefts.
Fast forward to this past Saturday. Three neighbors called in alleged package thefts. Officers combed the neighborhood looking for the thief. One report identified the thief as using a silver cane.
At 3:15 p.m. came another report: A woman confronted the alleged thief in the act of stealing a package from a Pleasant Street porch.
“The woman confronted the thief and ordered him to return the stolen item. He did, before walking down the street with the woman while asking her not to phone police. She took the opportunity to scold him for stealing other people’s property before he took off and she phoned police,” reported police spokesman Officer David Hartman. Officers Casey O’Brien, Douglas Pearse and Brian Jackson caught up with the man, who is 48 and homeless and was walking with a cane. They arrest him.
“Police and SoHu residents do not believe [the suspect] is solely responsible for the thefts, but rather working with someone else,” possibly a driver of a silver-colored car, according to Hartman.
That theory was buttressed by the fact that not long after the alleged thief’s arrest—another similar theft occurred from a SoHu porch.
So while the police continue looking for the other culprit, Hartman advised people to take the following precautions:
“1. Use the tracking information provided by the carrier to anticipate a delivery. Often you can request a delivery time or window when it’s convenient.
“2. If you are unable to receive the delivery, you may be able to request it be picked up at their facility rather than having it delivered.
“3. Ask a trusted neighbor to collect it for you if it’s delivered while you’re out.
“4. If a delivery driver notices he’s being followed or there’s someone suspicious lurking in the area, call the police.
“5. Report suspicious people and activity not only to police, but to your neighbors.”