Watchful neighbor takes down license plate of suspects accused of stealing Christmas packages

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City woman claims the Grinch stole her Christmas, after strangers snatched gifts right off her front porch.

Now two people are charged in connection with the crime, accused in a bigger string of package thefts spanning the metro.

Police say Scott Roberts and Rachelle Bagby were trailing behind delivery trucks, looking for drop-offs and stealing packages off front porches in several areas of Kansas City, Pleasant Hill and Lee’s Summit.

“Well, the Grinch visited me!” said Colleen Long, a victim in the Northland. “I was so upset.”

It was a crime that left the bottom of Long's Christmas tree a little more bare this year, after a package containing an expensive gift for her boyfriend was stolen off her front porch.

“I was waiting for my UPS package,” Long said, “and I heard a door shut and my dogs started barking. So I opened my door and looked and saw a car pulling out of my driveway.”.

That same car, a red Ford Explorer, was also spotted outside a home on another Northland street – caught by the watchful eyes of a neighbor.

“This Explorer pulls in,” said Don, “and I go, ‘I don`t recognize that vehicle at all!’”

Don said he watched as a woman hopped out of the car and grabbed a package off his neighbor's porch, just seconds after a FedEx delivery driver dropped it off.

“I don`t know if they were following the truck or not,” he said. “I just happened to be looking out the window at the right time.”

He was right time, right place – writing down the license plate number that eventually led police to a nearby Dollar Tree.

That’s where officers said they caught Bagby and Roberts red-handed with a slew of stolen packages stashed inside their car. Most of them were Christmas gifts taken from more than half-a-dozen victims across the metro.

“I thought, ‘Oh great!” Don said of being able to help officers catch the accused crooks. “And then [my neighbor] said, ‘You just saved a lot of people`s Christmases!’ And I thought, ‘Yes, I guess I did!’”

Bagby and Roberts remained behind bars in Clay County Friday night. Both of them are charged with receiving stolen property. Bagby is also charged with drug possession.

The charges are consequences Long was happy to hear about, following a crime that also stole her Christmas spirit.

“It just makes you feel really upset, angry and sad,” she said, “because you know, who`s got the money to buy more gifts this late in the stage, too.? They`re not going to get delivered in time.”

Security experts predict up to 23 million Americans have had packages stolen from their homes.

To protect your family, police suggest you invest in security systems or surveillance cameras, or have your packages delivered to work or a neighbor's house where someone can sign for it.