ROCK FALLS, Illinois -- Rock Falls Police Department and other local authorities have warned that thefts of packages from doorsteps and front porches rise every year with the holidays.
Sometimes called "porch pirates," the package thieves are seizing on a crime of opportunity, according to Rock Falls Detective Sergeant David Pilgrim.
"There's an item sitting unattended on a doorstep, and nobody is around," said Pilgrim. "They don't know what's in it, but they know that it's probably something of some kind of value whether they can use it or not."
Registered nurse Paula Devers on Monday shared the video of a man stealing two packages from her front step just outside Rock Falls on her Facebook page. The brazen theft struck a chord with her friends and even total strangers: her post was shared more than a thousand times and gathered more than 27,000 views in a matter of days.
Her husband, Mike Devers, had installed the security camera at their home years ago. He said he hadn't really ever checked the video recordings before Monday, when he and Paula realized that the packages that were supposed to arrive that day weren't there.
"So I started looking, and sure enough I found this guy, taking our packages off our porch," said Mike.
The Devers did not recognize the man, nor what they thought to be the 2005-2010 model blue Chevrolet Cobalt. While the video quality was not detailed enough to make out the man's face or license plate, the Devers caught him on camera twice.
The man first pulled up at around 1 o'clock to scope out the home and the delivery on the doorstep. He came back at around 2 o'clock, when he casually picked up the packages, put them in his car, and drove away.
"Another 15-20 minutes and I would have been pulling in the driveway," said Mike. "I probably would have called 911 right then."
Thankfully, the Devers say, they have time to replace the gifts before Christmas. They're confident that someone will recognize the thief and turn him in. And as for the porch pirate's loot?
"It was a couple pairs of women's sneakers and a couple toys for our granddaughter," Paula Dever said with a smile