String of package thefts spans Guntersville, Marshall County

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- Guntersville Police say a thief has been snatching packages off of porches in the city. Officers with other agencies in the county are seeing the same thing.

It's a video that should just make you angry. Home surveillance video released by the Guntersville Police Department shows a man driving a car into a driveway, getting out, and hurrying up to the front porch. You can see the man grab a package off of the porch and run off with it, getting in his car to drive away.

It only took him 24 seconds to ruin a family's day by stealing their kids' Christmas gifts. Unfortunately, Guntersville Police officers say this has been a trend over the last few days, and it doesn't just stop at the city limits. It spans the county. "A person will drive by in a car, they'll look on someone's porch to see if there's a package there, they'll turn around, return to the home, and fairly quickly run up on the porch, grab the package, and be gone in their car," Chief Jim Peterson said.

But, there's good news. "A neighboring agency made an arrest on a likely suspect in if not all, most, of our package thefts in Marshall County, so we were very happy to hear that. It's still under investigation at this time and they're still trying to put the evidence together before they bring charges on the individuals who were involved yesterday."

Peterson adds agencies across the county work together and that's beneficial in catching these thieves.

Officers want people to know how to keep from becoming a victim. When talking prevention, one thing Peterson says to look out for is people driving slowly back and forth through the neighborhood. In fact, that's what the thief in the surveillance video did before he finally pulled in to steal the package.

When you're expecting packages, have a scheduled delivery if possible and track it. "You can ask a neighbor to watch for a delivery truck and either obtain the package for you or call you when they see that the delivery's been made," Peterson said.

You can also look into having it delivered to your work or a business that offers that service.

Peterson says these package thefts during the holidays have been an issue over the last few years.  "So people need start really thinking about ways they can prevent these from happening in the first place. We're just glad to get any help from the public or any information that can be provided to us that can either lead to the prevention of the theft or help us to investigate it and actually prosecute somebody if they're caught doing this."