Far west side residents hot on the heels of 'Potranco porch pirate'

Residents on San Antonio's far west side are hot on the trail of someone who's been stealing their packages.

SAN ANTONIO - More online shopping attracts more "porch pirates," but residents on the far west side are hot on the trail of one who they claim has been stealing their packages.

They said the same man is targeting neighborhoods along Potranco Road.

Thanks to the surveillance systems of some neighbors, they caught the crook red-handed.

Package after package, neighbors in the Redbird Ranch subdivision told KENS 5 the same man is swiping packages from front porches.

Misty Allen's doorbell camera caught the thief red-handed Monday afternoon.

"It's obvious. I have a camera right there in the window. Anybody who comes up knows they're gonna be videotaped," said Allen. "My security system alerts me anytime someone's at the door, so I was able to go back and see the footage of him taking the package."

Inside the package was a $200 cable box.

Down Potranco inside the Bella Vista neighborhood, neighbors report the same man stealing their UPS packages.

"People are actually out there looking. In some cases, they actually know the route of the delivery trucks, and they follow the delivery trucks," said Sandra Pickell, spokeswoman for the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.

That's exactly what's happening down Potranco, neighbors said.

They believe they caught the thief on camera trailing the delivery truck.

"[Criminals] also look at certain things," said Pickell. "Does a porch look like someone is not home? Are they gone for a week? Are there newspapers out there?"

Stealing mail can get serious.

It's a felony to steal mail from the U.S. Postal Service, but if it's a package from UPS, FedEx or another retailer, it's a misdemeanor.

According to a post from the San Antonio Police Department property crimes unit on the Nextdoor app, package thefts are a huge problem and could be hard to solve despite having surveillance footage:

"Most of us can't be at home when the package is delivered. If someone steals a package, and the contents are less than $100, the theft is only a Class C misdemeanor. If the contents are $200-$750, it is only a Class B misdemeanor. Even if they are caught on video stealing your packages, the Property Crimes Unit has a hard time filing cases on these individuals."

What can you do to prevent this from happening?

Authorities recommend talking to your neighbors. Get their phone numbers, and maybe ask someone to hold the package for you if you're not home.

You can also look up the nearest FedEx or UPS store. You can have your package delivered there so you can pick it up.

You can also have your package delivered at a time you know you will be home.

Allen contacted the sheriff's office, and her case is under review.

"With so many people buying stuff online, it's not really fair to have to sit and wait for your package to make sure it's not taken," said Allen.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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