SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. -

Spokane Valley police are crediting a watchful neighbor with leading them to a package thief.

Police say a citizen reported he was following a female who stole a package from his neighbor’s porch on the 11700 block of East Mission in Spokane Valley just before noon Tuesday.

The neighbor told deputies that he saw the woman, identified as 32-year-old Hillary Porter, taking items out of a cardboard box and putting them in her purse. He went outside to inspect the box and noticed it was addressed to one of his neighbors a few houses away.

The man confronted Porter, who had walked into a backyard. Porter said she was trying to find a friend. The witness followed Porter and provided information to deputies.

Deputy Hert contacted Porter in the area of Mission and Pines where he saw her getting into a vehicle that had just arrived. Porter denied any theft. During the investigation, Deputy Hert found the stolen items in Porter’s purse.

Porter was arrested and booked into the Spokane County Jail for Theft 3rd Degree. Deputy Hert determined the driver of the vehicle Porter was leaving in did not have any knowledge of Porter’s criminal activity and was not charged.

The stolen items were later returned to the victim.

The Spokane Valley Police Department and Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is reminding everyone to take precautions as the Holiday Season approaches. They say criminals will be out trying to exploit the holidays and victimize our community when they find an opportunity.

If you’re expecting packages and won’t be home when they’re delivered, law enforcement officials recommend taking these precautions:

  • Consider having your items delivered to a neighbor you trust or a family member who will be home.

  • Insure packages to help protect your purchases.

  • Require a signature for delivery.

  • Utilize in-store pickup if available.

  • Don’t leave your items in your vehicle unattended. If you must, put them in your trunk or at least keep them out of sight.