WAKE FOREST, NC (WRAL) – Police on Tuesday arrested a couple in connection with a string of thefts of packages off porches in Wake Forest.
Acting on a tip from a resident, police stopped a pizza delivery vehicle on Heritage Lake Road and found several stolen packages inside, including parcels reported stolen from residences along Colonial Club Road, San Remo Place, Heritage Reserve Court, Highgate Circle, Coral Bell Drive and Meadow Flowers Avenue.
Rafael Perez, of 326-G S. Franklin St. in Wake Forest, charged with seven counts each of larceny and possession of stolen goods. Leticia Aldea-Flores, of 3914 Haresnipe Court in Raleigh, was charged with six counts of larceny and seven counts of possession of stolen goods. Additional charges may be filed against them, police said.
Victim Stephen Fulmer said he didn’t know packages had been stolen from his front porch until a police officer came to his door.
“Unbeknownst to us, the packages had been delivered,” he said. “[The officer] went back to his car, pulled out a package for my wife and said ‘Here you go.’ We got her package back but my package, which had some trinkets in it, is still missing.”
Police said “porch pirates” cruise neighborhoods looking for packages that can be taken quickly without notice. Some even follow delivery drivers and wait until a package or packages are dropped off and then snatch them as soon as the couriers leave, police said.
“A concerned citizen saw a suspicious vehicle sort of casing the neighborhood, called it in and, fortunately, one of our officers was able to stop the vehicle and locate all the stolen parcels,” said Bill Crabtree with the Town of Wake Forest.
Police said they plan to search the homes of Perez and Flores for any additional stolen items.
“It’s sad. You’re stealing from a person that you know they’re going to be gifts for somebody else,” Fulmer said.
Police said an alert neighbor saw Perez and Flores shining a flashlight on front porches as they drove by.