Online sleuths identify woman caught on camera stealing boxes. Now police are looking for her.


This porch pirate was caught on camera Thursday stealing boxes from a home in Stephenville.

By SARA VANDEN BERGE


When Callie Fender received a notification on her cell phone Thursday afternoon that a security camera on her front porch had sensed movement, she almost ignored it.


Instead, she looked at the notification and watched video of a brazen young woman walking up to the front door of her Stephenville home, then leaving with several packages sitting on the porch.

“I got the notification about a minute after it happened,” Callie told Beneath the Surface News. “At first, I thought it had to be a mistake, but unfortunately it wasn’t.”


The video shows the woman walking up to the front door about 3:30 p.m. and glancing to her left before picking up a sack of dog food and other groceries that had been delivered to Callie’s home just 30 minutes earlier.

The thief also grabbed a box of drill bits that was sitting on the porch before scurrying away.


Later that evening, Callie posted the video to Facebook and it didn’t take long for online sleuths to identify the woman.


“Everyone was getting after it,” Callie said. “Someone messaged me with her name and then I turned everything over to the Stephenville Police Department.”

I spoke with Captain James Gresham about the case on Friday.


He told me that the department is well acquainted with the alleged thief and are actively searching for her.


Gresham said “porch pirates” are now charged under a new Texas law that went into effect Sept. 1, 2021 that makes stealing packages an automatic Class A Misdemeanor.

“If they steal 10 or more packages, it’s a state jail felony, and 30 or more packages makes it a third-degree felony,” he said.


Gresham added that with the growing popularity of alarm systems and security cameras like Ring Video Doorbells, these types of crimes are less common than they once were.

Meanwhile, Callie said she is thankful for the help she received on social media and is hopeful that the thief will be caught soon.


“I was just annoyed that my dogs didn’t have any food,” she joked. “And I hope she isn’t doing this to more people, and if she is, then I hope we can stop her.”