SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -

Packages have been disappearing off the front steps of Spokane area homes this holiday season but some of those missing Christmas gifts are headed back to their owners.

On Monday, a Spokane Valley homeowner watched as a thief took off running with a package from his front porch and jumped into a getaway car. However, the homeowner recognized the mail snatcher and told police where to find him.

When confronted by investigators, the suspect admitted to stealing dozens of packages because they needed gifts for their family. Many of the stolen items were found wrapped under the suspect's Christmas tree.

"There have been numerous victims and probably numerous victims that don't even know that they have been victimized, that don't even know that they have had their mail taken, or FedEx or UPS boxes left on their doorsteps. It's really been very unfortunate, there have been multiple victims in our area," Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.

Investigators are currently working out a system to get those stolen packages to the people they belong to. The sheriff's office recommends that if you are expecting a package have someone at your home to receive it or have it shipped to a work address, and to always take advantage of online tracking when available.