Package thief caught on camera stealing from South Hill home

SPOKANE, Wash. — It happens every year. Package thieves steal Christmas gifts from your front porch. This year is no different. A man in the South Hill caught someone taking five packages from his home on Thursday in broad daylight.

Chris Zentz said the packages were delivered around 1:30 p.m., according to his Ring camera. He was downstairs when his camera went off again about an hour later.

“I looked and I saw someone walking away with a whole basket full of our Christmas presents, jumping in their Black Ford Focus and driving away,” Zentz said.

He said the theft makes him uneasy.

“It just kind of made me feel sick to my stomach because — you know, packages are one thing. It’s Christmas gifts,” Zentz explained. “That hurts, but it’s just a violation of your privacy and it makes you feel unsafe.”

Zentz tried to deter package thieves by using a different tactic.

“I put a basket with a little label on it that said please put packages inside here so you can’t see them from the street in hopes that this wouldn’t happen,” he said. “Unfortunately that kind of back fired because they picked up the basket and took the whole thing and it was full of packages.”

Spokane Police said Ring cameras are great to help catch thieves, and they’ve solved a lot of crimes. However, it won’t completely prevent a thief from taking your packages. There are ways to protect your gifts.

“If you can’t be there and deliveries are going to come in, try to have somebody you know that can be there to receive them,” said Sgt. Terry Preuninger with SPD. “Use a system that enables you to track them so that you know when you know when they’re going to be there.”

You can also have them delivered to a store that will hold your package.

“It may add a little bit to your trip at the end of the day, but it’s definitely gonna solve that security issue. That’s a great option,” Preuninger said.

He added that package thieves happen all across the City of Spokane. Some areas may be hit more at a smaller level, Preuninger said. Officers patrol neighborhoods to look out for package thieves.

As for Zentz, he’s filed for a refund and a police report. He’s also going to make some changes to his delivery.

“I was telling my wife this morning that if we get another basket I’m going to screw it to the wall so they can’t pick up the basket next time,” he said. “My mother-in-law lives fairly close to here. We’re going to send some packages there in hopes of getting replacements for those items and she’s sort of home all day.”

He also has a message for the person who stole the packages.

“Enjoy my wife’s jeans and nursing bra because that’s part of the packages that you stole and apparently you need those more,” he said.

If you recognize the person in the video or car, you’re asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233 and reference case number 2020-20216924.

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