Local News

Caught on camera: Thieves steal packages from mailboxes in Wendell

Posted December 7, 2021 10:08 a.m. EST
Updated December 7, 2021 10:15 a.m. EST

— Thieves were caught on camera stealing packages from Wendell homes early Sunday morning, but they didn’t have to leave their vehicle to take the items.

The Cedars Creek neighborhood in Wendell is full of Christmas spirit, but over the weekend thieves attempted to steal joy from the community.

Instead of typical "porch pirates" who come onto porches to steal newly-delivered packages, one woman said there is now a new twist to the scheme.

“It has happened before, just not to this extent,” said Brittany Seese, who lives in the neighborhood. “My neighbors across the street actually alerted me the very next morning that they had some of our opened mail in their yard."

Out of curiosity, Seese checked her home security video. She saw what appears to be a gray SUV driving by while someone reached out the window to search for packages inside mailboxes.

“The person was in the backseat. The driver was in the front seat, obviously, and that person in the backseat just grabbed it out of the mailbox, shouted, 'Woo hoo, a package,' and rolled on,” Seese added.

Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said his office is seeing more of these kinds of thefts. He explained it’s clear the pandemic and the state of the economy have more people taking desperate measures.

“We have a lot of folks who are not working and, unfortunately, are looking for opportunities to have things that they haven’t worked for,” Baker said.

The sheriff added that he plans to increase patrols so more deputies can be on the lookout for thieves this holiday season, but he emphasized these crimes are happening year-round.

“A lot of people have cameras now. Maybe that’s why they went mailbox to mailbox instead of coming up on the porch, because they would’ve been easier to identify at that point,” said Seese.

As thieves get more creative, the sheriff asks the community to be more vigilant and to look out for your neighbors.

“Sadly, these are the times we’re in," Baker said. "If it’s suspicious to you, call 911."

Seese has additional advice.

“I guess just check the mail nightly and get your packages in as quick as possible," she said. "It’s just disheartening now, with Christmas coming up, you don’t know what you’re actually taking from folks who might be in need."

Luckily, the Seese family said nothing sentimental was stolen. They just want to bring awareness to others.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office is investigating the case.

Baker commends home security videos for helping law enforcement solve these crimes and encourages residents to get one for their property if possible.

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