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Package Thieves Taking Your Holiday Deliveries Could Now Face Felony

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Holiday deliveries are in overdrive which means package thieves will be busy. In fact, they've already gotten started.

"I see this guy walking up to the front door and he grabs the package!" said Dom Quindara.

The Fort Worth man says he was out of town when his camera system alerted him to movement on his porch.

He watched a man carry off the CD adapter he'd purchased for his vehicle - but the thief didn't stop there.

"Then he goes for the mail!" said Dom. "And I'm like, 'oh no, you just took it to the next level.'"

Lisa Peterson has her own story.

Surveillance video shows a man approach her front door then do a quick spin and run away. "So I thought, 'oh good the camera scared him away, he's not going to come back."

But he did.

"It's the same guy," Lisa said, referring to the video. "He came back with his hat on!" The man grabbed the package off her porch and stuffed it into his pants. "I was floored. I couldn't believe it."

Suspected package thief
Suspected package thief (home surveillance)

While package thefts are nothing new, there is a new state law in place.

Typical theft charges are based on the value of what's stolen; the more expensive the item, the bigger the charge. But the new law counts packages, not dollars.

"If they steal any packages at all, it's a Class A misdemeanor which can put you in the county jail for up to a year," said Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn. "If you go from house to house and steal ten packages, you're facing a felony."

That means Peterson's thief could face a minimum of six months in jail... all for stealing a razor blade and shaving cream.

While most homeowners we spoke to are in favor of the new law, some say it doesn't address the real problem. The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, a nonprofit research group based in Austin, says the law will contribute to more prison overpopulation. The group believes lawmakers should have focused instead on ways to make deliveries more secure.

As for Peterson, she says there's another problem at play.

"No one's really reporting this stuff to the police." She says the man who hit her Haslet home was caught on camera days earlier stealing from someone else. She later learned that victim did not file a police report. "Most people just want to get on Facebook or NextDoor and just complain about it and then that's where it ends."

So even if you get a refund or replacement, file a report. Between that and any video, Sheriff Waybourn says package thieves are in for a rude awakening.

"We think those people will be caught very quickly and they will be spending the holidays with us."

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