PINECREST (CBSMiami) — New surveillance tape released by the Village of Pinecrest shows a crime that has become a particular problem as the holidays approach; packages and presents that are stolen from outside homes after being dropped off by delivery drivers.
The tape reveals how criminals strike in seconds.
It shows one man jumping over a fence on Oct. 31 at a Pinecrest home and then grabbing a package, putting it under his shirt and then jumping over the fence again and leaving.
“This shows that not even a fence can stop him,” said Pinecrest spokeswoman Michelle Hammontree. “This type of crime happens year round but it increases during the holidays. People should be aware that this is a crime of opportunity and if some people want something they will move quickly and it happens so fast.”
Other surveillance tape obtained by CBS4’s Peter D’Oench shows a similar crime on August 16 at the home of Javier Aguirre. The tape shows a man grabbing a package of clothing from outside the gated home and then walking away.
“It’s bad that people can come by and take what is yours,” he said. “People in neighborhoods need to be close and tell each other what is happening.”
Another homeowner, Marilyn DeSoto, said a thief on August 8 stole a package containing a $2,500 laptop that was supposed to be delivered to her home by telling a delivery driver that the package belonged to him.
DeSoto said the criminal was lying in wait in her neighborhood and approached the delivery driver before he could drop off the package. DeSoto saw what was happening and pursued the thief.
“By the time I got to the truck I saw the FedEx guy give him the package and he’s running and I’m running after him to get the package back and he pushed me,” she said. “Then I got scared that I was doing a very dangerous thing.”
A police report says the delivery driver tried to find the criminal but could not. DeSoto says that fortunately, the company that she bought the laptop from replaced the item for free because she reported it as stolen.
DeSoto is alarmed by what happened.
“I still think this is horrible,” she said. “We are in a nice neighborhood that is safe. They kind of went on to my property and stole it. Now I am very cautious,” she said. “And I report everything.”
Hammontree has some advice.
“You can have a package delivered to your neighbor’s house or ask for a signature when a package is delivered,” she said. “You can have a package delivered to a retail store or even to your place of employment.”
Aguirre said, “Just be careful with what you do. If you order something, you probably need to request a specific delivery time.”
Hammontree also says if you see any suspicious activity, you should call the police and report it.