Neighbor helps police track down alleged porch pirates
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.--The St. Joseph County Police Department caught and arrested two suspects, allegedly involved in a string of porch thefts all over the area.
Colin Crowel of Osceola said it all started around the New Year holiday, when a burgundy Jeep Cherokee was stolen in his neighborhood.
As weeks went by, Ring surveillance video from around the county started circulating on social media of two porch pirates, allegedly stealing packages from multiple front door steps and driving off in a vehicle fitting that same exact description.
“They stole from a neighborhood that was right across from my neighborhood on the South side of town, right next to the Fairgrounds, and the second I saw that that’s when I knew I had to really step in and make it known to all my neighbors and my friends that live in that area that they were within a block of their houses,” Crowel said.
Crowel kept track of the posts about the alleged suspects’ vehicle and started sharing them to community pages on Facebook, gaining tons of shares and attention, so that neighbors and friends could be on the lookout.
“I’m in my truck, talking back and forth to these various people and sending the photos to people who might’ve known who these people were, people that lived in my neighborhood, I made a post for my neighborhood watch page,” Crowel said.
On Tuesday afternoon, 48 hours after making the post, Crowel got a call from a close friend who spotted the vehicle and acted!
“I got a message from a good friend and a customer of mine that he was sitting next to them at McDonalds on 331 so I hopped in the car and told him to call the police. He followed them long enough to keep track of where they were and I rolled up right behind them at an intersection and were both sitting right next to each other staring right at them watching them going through various parking lots,” Crowel said.
A St. Joseph County police officer was also nearby, who spotted the vehicle, and arrested two suspects identified as Isaray Rodriquez and Stephanie Stouder.
“It looked like it was two different females who were stealing the packages off the porch, we talked with officers in our department and yesterday Sargent Jason Dziubinski from our traffic enforcement team saw the vehicle, followed it, made a traffic stop and we ended up making two arrests,” St. Joseph County Police Department Liutenant Dave Sult said.
While community team-work is appreciated, Lt. Dave Sult said safety is always the main priority.
“It’s not worth getting hurt over, over a vehicle theft or someone stealing packages off of a porch. Your life is more important than that,” Sult said.
But Crowel feels he had to do something to protect his community.
“You follow it for long enough and you feel a sense of urgency, and when I got that text message I felt that it was my duty to go and help him and kind of get an end to this whole package thievery,” Crowel said.
Unfortunately, porch thefts happen all the time, but there are ways to help prevent it from happening to your deliveries.
“When you’re ordering products to be sent to your house make sure someone is home, or have a neighbor look after your product and someone shows up or have the product sent to your workplace so something like this doesn’t happen,” Sult said.
“Pay more attention to your surroundings and pay attention to your cameras. We can all make a huge difference in our day to day lives,” Crowel said.
At this time the two women who allegedly stole packages and the vehicle have not been charged.