Very Clear Video of Alleged Package Thieves Caught in the Act

“Dear PoPville,

This video was taken from a security camera I installed in my front basement entrance of 1012 Park Road NW. They stole an external hard drive that had arrived at the door about 20 minutes before they got to it. Perhaps someone knows these guys or has seen them coming up to their door? This occurred at 3:47 PM on a Friday!

If you have any related information, please contact:
F. Fawzi
Criminal Investigations Division
Third District Detectives Unit
1620 V Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20009
Office- 202-673-6918
Station- 202-673-6815”

111 Comment

  • I hope they catch the guys. Can you tell me what camera you installed? That’s a very clear image. Is it wireless or hard wired?

    • gotryit

      I second the compliment on the system. Also, that’s great placement of the camera – at about head level. You get a much clearer shot of the face than from cameras that are placed high.

    • Not the original poster, but I just picked up a Foscam wireless camera and hooked it up to Mangocam dot com which is a cloud-based service to record video. Mangocam lets you set up motion detection and start recording for a period of time if it senses motion. It will also email or text you to let you know that motion has occurred, which works great (we’ve been using it to be notified of the coming and going of contractors doing our renovation). Frankly its totally amazing and cost about $100 for the camera and $10 a month for the service. The beauty of cloud-based storage is that I don’t have to run any hardware and the footage can’t be stolen along with any hardware it’s running on.

      • gotryit

        How is the quality? When I looked at wireless previously, I was not impressed compared to what the wired systems can provide.

        • wired vs. wireless has nothing to do with the quality. the quality has to do with the resolution of the camera you get, and you can get up to HD at this point.

          • gotryit

            Quality also has to do with max throughput. If the camera itself doesn’t have storage, then you can be limited by the transmission rate between the camera and wherever its being stored. So you can get a great camera, but if you can’t transmit fast enough, your quality will be lower.
            Wired doesn’t have that problem.

          • yes but modern wi fi has way more than enough bandwidth for quality video.

          • gotryit

            What about power? Are you running on battery? Or plug in to an outdoor outlet?

          • “yes but modern wi fi has way more than enough bandwidth for quality video.”

            Not if you have comcast…

          • WiFi signal strength has nothing to do with the broadband provider …

          • gotryit

            I like my system wired with DVR – very reliable even if my internet provider gets stupid.

          • the problem is when someone steals your DVR the evidence is stolen with it

        • gotryit

          They’d have to find it. Wires run inside the walls, so… not so easy.
          I’m sure if they were really smart criminals they could do that. But this is DC.

    • OP here, I answered this further below in the comments! Good luck

  • ha ha ha what a bunch of idiots. there’s no doubt they’ll get picked up with such good footage.

  • If only DC provided more funding for after school programs and youth rec centers these crimes could be avoided.

    • These men appear to be at least in their late 30s, so I think they’re pretty much beyond help.

    • Yes, they’re just misunderstood. It’s understandable – how would you feel, with all those gentrifiers flaunting reasonably-priced merchandise delivered right to their homes? The OP really should be more sensitive to the feelings of the people who came before him/her. I bet s/he thinks it’s OK to use their PDA in public, too. What a jerk.

  • This is great. What kind of camera?

  • One of them had a red jacket and purple trousers. The Fashion Police are issuing a warrant for his arrest too.

  • I’ve had many packages stolen recently on Columbia. Hopefully these are the same guys.

  • they look pretty guilty to me

    • This is exactly the type of low level crime that DC has to put a stop to.

      Can’t the cops do stakeouts in package theft hot spots?

  • Loveable scamps!

  • I’m about to put in home cameras myself, and I’m REALLY hoping the OP will share the name of the camera installation company and the brand of the system that was used! I haven’t picked a system yet, but I know now I want that one! That image is fantastic.

    Here’s hoping that the guys get caught quickly and get a real jail term.

  • I really hope the cops catch these guys. My neighbors and I who live about a block north of Park Rd around Kansas Av and 13th St have seen over 10 packages stolen over the last several months. We’ve reported it to the cops. Reached out to elected officials. Yet nothing has been done. Thank you for catching this one video. I hope this leads to an arrest.

    • At one point is it just plain dumb to keep having packages sent – after the 5th one stolen? 6th one stolen? just saying.

      • By the time, we all realized the problem was so rampant, the damage was done. I quit having packages delivered or required signature. It’s pretty sad. What’s wrong with people? I hope DC gets tougher on crime in general. Too many criminals running around with little fear of the law.

        • what’s wrong with people??? We don’t live in Mayberry and Aunt Bea is not sitting on the porch watching out for your packages…. might as well leave a few $20 bills taped to the front door as a tip for the delivery guy

          why anyone in DC (or any other town or city larger than Mayberry) would have packages delivered to their homes, unless you are absolutely sure you will be there, is beyond me…..

          • Yah, pardon me for expecting people have some semblance of morals or class. My fault. It’s a city, so steal all the packages you want! I’m offended by the above comment.

          • Grew up in the midwest. No offense, but this crap doesn’t happen there.

          • I lived in NYC for a decade. This definitely happens there. Welcome to the Big City.

      • If I had multiple thefts, I’d start mailing myself some packages. Of exploding dye packs.

    • We live in the same area of 13th and just stopped having things delievered to the house after a bunch of stuff for our wedding (thanks, asshole package thief) was stolen off of our porch. I’ve lived in the area for six years and never had anything stolen until last fall. It sucks, but hopefully the police get these guys.

      • Just wanted to second this. I’ve lived on the 700 block of Kenyon NW and only started having problems with packages getting stolen in the last 6 months. No joke – we had our box of wedding invitations stolen. There’s a special place in hell for these people.

    • If you go to the top of this page and type “package thief” into the search field, you will come across not just a series of posts complaining about package thefts – it’s a recurring theme here – but also posts announcing arrests of package thieves by MPD. So if the issue has not been resolved in your neck of the woods, it does not mean that MPD is not working on it.
      Also, in the same sense that swiping a package from a porch is a crime of opportunity, catching a package thief in action is a matter of timing. How likely is it that MPD will be strolling or riding by while someone is descending a porch with a package; or pushing a cart with open packages down the block.

      • What search field? Maybe my work’s firewall blocks it, but I’m not seeing one.

        • Are you using a mobile device? If so, the page doesn’t include it. If you’re using a full sized screen, the “search” field is at the upper right hand corner of the page.

  • When Muriel Bowser was asked for a comment about rising crime, she immediately stated she’s starting a task force to identify what technology is used to timestamp videos. She was very impressed!

  • Ugh, hate package thieves! I live on this block and have had several packages stolen lately.

  • I’ll keep an eye out

  • haha, those chumps will be busted for sure.

  • I live near here and had several packages stolen last fall. We contacted UPS/FedEx/USPS asking them not to leave packages at our door and they still do! It’s so frustrating. I finally got the point where I filled a box up with dog shit and left it on our stoop for the thieves to open.

  • The worst – I live in the area and have had several packages stolen. The worst part was that after asking USPS/UPS/FedEx to stop leaving packages at our do, they continued to do it! It finally got to the point where I just filled a box with dog shit and left it on our stoop for the thieves to open. Suckers.

    • I don’t think UPS/USPS/FedEx has any obligation to hold a package for pick up unless the sendor requests a signature upon delivery. The sendor controls the method of delivery, not the recipient.
      There used to be a time when they would leave packages with neighbors but I guess they’ve stopped doing that, probably because some of those packages were disappearing.

      • Actually you can call and put in a request that all packages coming to your address must have signatures – which we did. It lasted for maybe the next couple of packages and then it was back to status quo.

      • You can create a personal account with UPS for free, and provide limited special instructions regarding package delivery (e.g., deliver to rear door instead of front), and for a $5 per delivery fee, you can schedule the delivery date (not time, but date), and possibly (I don’t know, haven’t checked) have the package held somewhere.

      • saf

        They don’t have time any more. They don’t have time to knock on doors any more.

  • I witnessed a package theft just this morning — 10:15am, Thurs, April 10. 1500 block of Buchanan St NW. Guy just rolled up on his bike and put the box under his arm. Good thing they opened the package in the alley, figured it wasn’t valuable, and left it in the alley.

  • Can we Please get an update to this story when these thieves are caught?!

  • I live just around the corner from there (also a basement unit) and have had to cancel the home delivery of my prescription medication because it kept getting stolen in front of my basement entrance. Probably the same guys…

  • Ewww, leeches.

  • I used to live in the neighborhood, and having a concierge to accept packages was high on my must-have list based on this. I can’t receive packages at my work, so I was left having stuff shipped to a friend’s, which felt burdensome and was inconvenient. But anyways, I always thought it was high school hooligans. Kinda makes me sad to see two grown (and one looks pretty darn old) adults doing it.

    • these fine fellas would be great candidates for spending the rest of their lives in jail. definitely beyond remedying such antisocial behavior.

  • We’ve been having a problem with package theft in Logan Circle since January 2014.

  • This is what gentrification does. It’s a shame.

    • can you please explain how gentrification is the reason for a thief stealing someone else’s property?

  • I live in the Majestic at 16th and Lamont and our package room was robbed on 4/4/14 as well. The thieves drilled through the door to get in, which is amazing considering there are cameras in the lobby. Not sure if they caught anyone. Maybe related to this incident?

  • I live in the Majestic at 16th and Lamont and our package room was robbed on 4/4/14 as well. The thieves drilled through the door to get in, which is amazing considering there are cameras in the lobby. Not sure if they caught anyone. Maybe related to this incident?

  • Has anyone ever used one of those security drop boxes that lets the mailman put the package in the top, but then you need a key to get it out from the bottom? Obviously, this only works for small/medium sized packages, but I was just curious if people have had success with them.

  • Jim Graham voters no doubt. I heard from an officer once that Graham had instructed officers to not harass his constituents. Hopefully Nadeau will be better in directing police attention to Columbia Heights. Hopefully.


    Can there be a PoPville 10 Most Wanted? I’d love to have one page where I can see the photos of documented criminals we’re all supposed to be keeping an eye out for.

    Also, is there anyway to volunteer your porch for MPD to do package theft stings? As far as I’m concerned, they can stake out a package on my porch every damn day.

  • I know who the first man is….it’s AL ROKER! Things must be slow on the Today show…he’s started stealing packages!

  • They appear to be in their 40’s (maybe 50’s) with families and homes!

    • Yeah, I was shocked when I saw who did it given their age. The first guy looks like a professor type with glasses and the second guy looks like a grumpy dad.

  • OP here. The system I bought is: Vonnic DK8-C2808CM 8 Channel H.264 DVR + 8 CMOS Night Vision LED IR 480 TVL Cameras Surveillance Kit. It works pretty well as long as people are close. The only thing I’ve noticed that’s a little bit off is the time on the system. Over the course of 6+ months it seems to have gotten 11 minutes off haha

    All you have to do is buy a separate hard drive (recommend at least 1TB) and you’re good to go. Actually you’ll also need a monitor to plug into the system to be able to review footage. I bought two of these systems and installed the 2nd one out back. I have 6 cameras out back because my garage door got tagged twice last year and a burglar climbed into our window at 4pm on a Monday. I wanted to catch someone in the act out front and now that I have, I’ll probably add a more visible camera hoping it acts as a deterrent. Everyone should install these! The police have very little to go on otherwise.

    • Doubt the thieves in this video read Popville but if they do they at least now know where to steal a $250 surveillance system 🙂

      • They can steal the cameras but the system sits inside…

        • gotryit

          I actually had someone yank off a security camera after trying to break in through a window (unsuccessfully). Thankfully, he snapped the cable on the camera side so it was relatively easy to replace.

    • gotryit

      For what it’s worth, my very obviously placed cameras fail as a deterrent. People continue to do stupid (criminal) things in front of them. So, on it goes to MPD…

    • Wouldn’t a better solution for burglars climbing into your home be window guards and/or an alarm system, as opposed to a surveillance system to document the act? I guess the surveillance system might be a deterrent if you have signs posted to let the bad guys know they are being filmed.

      • The cameras are not a solution for someone climbing in the window. That is just part of what motivated me to purchase and install the system. Having tenants close and lock the window was the solution – it was left wide open with only a screen. I came up from the basement when I heard something, yelled, and the dude popped back out the window. All of this makes me want to booby trap my house Home Alone style.

  • I think it’s worth noting this post has 92 comments so far. Most people commenting have stated they they have experienced the same thefts in the same general area. So if this is a problem area, why are the cops not doing more? How hard is it to conduct a simple sting operation in a known trouble area? The same applies to known drug house or drug dealing corners? Everyone on here should email our next mayor, Muriel Bowser, and their Council Member. If you know you police representative, email that person too. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Shame on us if we only post our thoughts on a message board.

    • gotryit

      It’s a crime of opportunity. It’s not like there’s only a handful of people doing this. It’s any number of people walking by that happen to notice an unattended package and take it. You can’t arrest them all.
      Also, nice try on the Bowser as mayor – I don’t think it’s that clear whether we’ll have Mayor Catania or Mayor Bowser.

    • Yes, the “shame” here should be directed at the law-abiding residents whose packages are getting stolen. Not the people you are doing the actual stealing. Got it.

  • greenroofgoddess

    We live on Holmead and had a package stolen last Saturday 5 minutes after the mailman delivered it. Literally. The mail guy walked back to his truck to get another delivery and saw the guy steal it from our porch (i have things delivered to work, and this was an unexpected package). The mailman knocked on our door (would have been nice if he did that when delivering the package), and told me what he’d just witnessed so I called the cops. They came quickly, were able to find a guy matching the description in about 30 minutes (but he’d dumped the package which was a very nice trench coat), and the mailman went with them to make the ID. Happy with the quick response, but very frustrated that they didn’t arrest him and take him in–they said that since they didn’t witness the theft, they couldn’t arrest him, and would have to wait for the court on Monday to issue an arrest warrent. They were confident that they could pick him up again once they had the warrant since “he is one of the neighborhood drunks who hangs out on 14th.” Great. Sigh.

    • houseintherear

      Are you effing serious?! So the mail person witnessed it, but the actual cops didn’t witness it so they wouldn’t make an arrest. WHAT THE HELLLLLLLLLL

  • DC needs a Batman

  • This is about 1 block from a police station….

  • Unfortunately this has happened at my building in Columbia Heights. They have been stealing packages since January 2013–including expensive wedding presents :(. I wish I had more information to help you. Hopefully this video will help police catch them finally.

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