Shawnee woman catches would-be package thief in the act

SHAWNEE, Kan. -- We hear lots of stories this time of year about thieves stealing people's packages, but one metro woman says she caught some thieves in the act.

She was in the right place at the right time, and helped save some of her granddaughter's Christmas presents.

“We saw a truck in the driveway, and I just thought maybe it was one of her friends,” said Nancy Troyer, who lives down the street from her sister.

Troyer was driving by with her daughter and granddaughter in broad daylight Saturday around 11 a.m. when they saw something unusual.

“My daughter turned to me and said, mom, she's stealing the package off their porch,” Troyer said. “So I put the car in reverse, I pinned her in, and she said she was there picking up a package for Andrea. And I said, 'Andrea?' She goes, 'yeah, this is where Andrea lives,' and I said, 'okay, can I see your driver's license?' And she got a little nervous, and she said, 'no I'm supposed to be here picking up a package for Andrea,' so I said 'no, my sister lives here.'”

She said it was a middle-aged woman with dark hair driving a red Ford F-150 with no license plates and masking tape over the Ford emblem.

“So then she put the car in reverse, and I demanded the package back, and she gave me the package,” Troyer said.

The package contained gifts for her grandchildren.

“I don't think it gets much lower,” Troyer said. “My three year old granddaughter was in the car, and she asked what was going on. And my daughter said to her, 'that lady took your Christmas presents,' and she said, 'what? She's on the naughty list!'”

Troyer said she thinks this problem is getting worse, as just a couple weeks before she had five packages stolen from her porch.

But she thinks others should call police and not do what she did.

“I notified our neighborhood home association, and apparently Saturday, when this incident happened, there were a couple other neighbors who were hit with this,” Troyer said. “I wasn't thinking. I was just running on adrenaline. I had this happen to me, and I thought, 'no, this is enough,' and I would not recommend it.”

Police are investigating the case, and recommend filing a police report every time.

Major Dan Tennis, Support Services Division Commander with the Shawnee Police Department, has some tips to prevent package theft.

  • Utilize the package tracking provided by most shippers. You will have an idea when to expect the package and can limit the time your package is left on your porch. Some shippers even allow you to provide special instructions as to where to leave the package.
  • If you won’t be home when your package arrives make arrangements with a family member or trusted neighbor to retrieve the package as soon as you know it has been delivered.
  • If possible request the shipper require a signature for delivery so someone must be home to sign. You could even pick the item up at the nearest shipper's location.
  • Consider ordering items for store-pickup so as to avoid leaving them unattended.
  • If your employer will allow it, have packages delivered to your job or office.
  • Leave space for the package on your porch in a location which is out of view of the street. Thieves often drive down the street looking for items to steal.
  • Occasionally thieves follow delivery vehicles as they drop off packages. If you see someone who appears to be doing this, contact your local police department immediately. If possible provide a vehicle description and license plate.