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CBS4 Exclusive: Porch Pirates Arrested In El Portal

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - El Portal's Police Chief says two so-called "porch pirates" were busted in his city after an alert victim followed them and contacted police.

In an exclusive interview, Police Chief David Magnusson tells CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "We think of these people as porch pirates but that sort of gives them a dignified name. What they are are thieves. Let's not call them porch pirates and glamorize this. They are thieves."

Magnusson showed CBS4 the Nest camera video that he says captured Guilliani Oscar stealing packages last Saturday at noon with his accomplice Rony Jean in the background from the home of Saverio Malasardi just a half a block away from the El Portal Police Department.

"I was pretty much said," said Malasardi. "I had Christmas gifts and some were expensive."

Magnusson said "You see the person nonchalantly walk up to the door and pick up the packages and walk away. Do I think this was his first rodeo? No, they didn't just start this last Saturday at noon. They were going to hit other homes again, no doubt. This is lucrative. I am hopeful that some people in other agencies will see this and they may recognize these suspects."

Malasardi took action and got in his Ford Mustang and followed the men after an alarm on his Nest Camera alerted him to the men on his camera.

"I saw them on my next camera video within two minutes taking packages," he said. "They were walking down the street slowly and so I got in my car and followed them and I called the police and they were very efficient. Some 10 cars were going through my neighborhood. I found them a couple of blocks away down the street and they had four packages. They threw those packages away and started running towards Little River."

"I feel good that four packages were found for other people," he said. "I am not sure where mine went. They may be hidden in the grass. I think they went door to door."

Malasardi and Magnusson have some tips to prevent you from being victimized.

Magnusson said "Keep in touch with your neighbors first of all. If you are expecting packages or have ordered packages, maybe you can have them delivered to your work address. Keep in touch with your neighbor as well and have them be on the lookout. Find out if you can when the packages are going to be delivered and see if you can be home for that. Make sure at nighttime you have good lighting at your home."

Magnusson has written a two-page memorandum for a series of safety tips.

Malasardi said "Tell the delivery guys to deliver somewhere else other than the front door. And place items not visible from the street because these guys were following delivery trucks and waiting for them to deliver to the next house."

Magnusson said it is not known if the two thieves have struck in other cities. He said both men have been charged with petit theft.

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