Metro police investigate package thieves

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- Police believe a Grandview, Mo., couple has targeted homes in at least eight cities near the metro, stealing delivered packages right off front porches.

The thefts started last month and have continued up until last week.

“It’s a crime of opportunity,” said Detective Josh Bernal of the Prairie Village Police Department.

“I mean, there are packages out there, a lot of times they’re dropped off during the day when people are at work and nobody’s around to watch them. Unfortunately there are people out there that are looking to take advantage of that.”

Det. Bernal is investigating such a case in Prairie Village where thieves snatched several packages off a porch last week on Rainbow Avenue. Luckily for investigators, a neighbor was watching and scribbled down the crooks’ license plate number.

“The neighbor was big,” Det. Bernal said. “They were alert and observant and they saw something that didn’t look right and they took note of it, which was really helpful for us.”

Detectives used the license plate to track down a couple in Grandview, Mo., and served a search warrant on Friday.

They found not only the Prairie Village stolen packages -- but more than a dozen stolen packages from seven other cities around the metro.

“We believe they might have been following some trucks around, cruising around neighborhoods looking for packages and opportunities,” Det. Bernal said.

Stolen items included clothes, electronics and toys. Police said the couple had even re-wrapped some of the stolen items intending to give them away as presents.

“Everyone wants to give something and sometimes it’s ill-gotten,” Det. Bernal said.

It’s a Christmas crime that could soon land the couple behind bars, as detectives are working with prosecutors to get charges filed so they can make arrests in the case.

But they believe other criminals out there could still target you, so they suggest getting your packages delivered to a place where someone can sign for it, like your office or a neighbor's house when someone is home.