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Video shows woman brazenly steal more than $1,000 worth of gifts from porch, Webster police say

By CHRISTINA HAGER

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    WEBSTER, Massachusetts (WBZ) — Police say a clumsy thief who struggled to pile a load of packages in her arms before taking off with them in Webster has been identified. Doorbell camera video from the home on Harris Street caught video of the woman’s face in full view.

“I spent all weekend, I was up till 2:00 in the morning finding the best deals and the best coupons, and I got jewelry and T-shirts and dashcams,” said Amanda Rodriguez, who estimates the presents were worth about $1,000. “There was a basketball and some clothes, body sprays, bath sets, twin sheets.”

They were all the presents they had for the oldest two of their five kids. “Any dollar amount that I can scramble to get gifts and stuff for my family, I live paycheck to paycheck, so it’s just difficult when you save up money to buy gifts and then someone just takes them,” said her husband Christopher Rodriguez said.

Now there’s a decoy package on the porch. It’s labeled with a photo of the thief, and a message: “We caught you on camera Ms. Grinch. Bring back our stuff!”

The woman has been identified and some of the property has been retrieved. The investigation remains ongoing, and the woman will be summoned to court. Her name has not been released.

Police say at least one other home reported packages missing. Signs through the neighborhood warn about “porch pirates”.

“I’m always looking out, just to make sure that there’s no one behind me,” said a UPS driver down the street. “As soon as I make a delivery, I’ll look to see if I’m on the same street, and if there’s someone running towards it, I’ll call the cops,” he said.

Police say package thefts have become commonplace. “Talk to your neighbors,” said Webster Police Chief Michael Shaw. “If they can keep an eye out, or if you have a family member who can come pick them up or be there when it’s being delivered.”

He also recommends Amazon’s locker delivery option, or having packages delivered to your workplace.

Amanda Rodriguez wishes the woman had simply asked for help, instead of ruining her holiday. “There are so many other ways to get help, like if you need money or you don’t have a way to do Christmas for your kids, there’s places you can sign up. If you’d knocked on my door…I would help you.”

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