NAMPA, Idaho — Package thefts don't stop after the holidays. A man was recently caught on camera stealing a package in Nampa from someone's front porch. He was arrested thanks to the homeowner's quick action.
The crime took place February 8 on Autumn Place in the southern part of the city. The homeowner has a device that alerts him when someone is approaching his house. It went off that morning and that's when the situation unfolded.
"I had gotten a notification a package had been dropped off, and then I got another notification when I was about 10 minutes away, and I thought that would be crazy if it was a person taking a package off the porch, and when I pulled it up it was someone pulling into the driveway and taking the package," said homeowner Adam Hopkins.
Hopkins could see it in real time on his cell phone because he uses a doorbell floodlight camera made by RING. Nampa Patrol Officer Chris Orvis says more and more people are getting these types of security devices and catching people in the act. The thieves are commonly known as "porch pirates."
"A lot of times we get the reports after the fact with the suspect descriptions and photos from those video doorbells, but to have someone in the area to give us real time information, it is a different situation," Orvis said.
Hopkins was actually able to follow the man's minivan, talking to dispatch the whole time. Police were able to catch up with the minivan and pull it over.
Nampa Patrol Officer Cody Brubaker says the two people inside ended up confessing to stealing packages. Yes, more than just the one from Hopkins front porch.
"Through the interview process we identified the stolen items that were in the vehicle as well that were related to the reporting party, as well as some additional stolen items that were from another theft that occurred this day," Brubaker said.
Kristopher Calderon was arrested and charged with petty theft as well as drug charges. The driver of the van, Melinda Hankins, was also arrested for drugs.
"It's really satiating to participate in getting your belongings back and then just working with the police department and allowing them to do their job because that's what they do, they're here to serve the community, and that's exactly what they did," Hopkins said.
Police say Hopkins did the right thing by not confronting the suspects himself and calling them.
You can get most security doorbell systems for around $100.