RIVERVIEW (FOX 13) - Deputies say they are looking for two women caught on home surveillance cameras snatching packages minutes after they were delivered in a Riverview neighborhood Monday afternoon.
The thieves stole packages off porches on Summer Springs Drive in the middle of the day, and some of the victims reported what happened to detectives Tuesday. The women got away in a dark-colored Volvo SUV.
Noel Rivera said the thieves took five packages from his porch, all Christmas gifts for his children, and the action was recorded on his home security system.
Rivera said in a post on Facebook, “If they would have just asked I would have bought their kids even more than they stole. I wouldn’t have cared if they stole stuff I bought for myself. But they stole my kids Christmas presents Clothes and toys. 5 packages in total.”
In the video, the females are heard saying, "Kids stuff. Kids stuff and children's books."
Rivera said he saw the camera notifications to his phone when the packages were delivered, then it went off, again and again, recording the thieves.
“I’m not upset about the items they took. It was the attitude they came in and they made a comment, 'Oh, look it's kids’ clothes. It's Children's Place.' And they were like excited about it. So, they knew they were talking little kids stuff,” said Rivera.
On Tuesday, a group came to his door with different intentions.
“I got a notification on the front door, and of course I quickly went to my phone. And as I look at my front door, it's our church family coming and dropping off gifts here, waving at the camera saying ‘I hope you get your stuff back, but here's something in the meantime,’” said Rivera. “I don’t have to worry about my kids not having something. That's not my concern. I just want the people caught."
Neighbors were shocked to find out their street was targeted.
“Lately, we've been taking our packages at the house, bringing them in when we get home,” said neighbor Diana Wohlgamuth. “But if there's issues in the neighborhood, I think we're going to have to stop doing that and have them delivered to work instead.”
Detectives hope someone will recognize the women on camera and turn them in.
“Those folks don't look like career criminals in our mind. It's not your typical video that you see,” said Danny Alvarez, a spokesperson with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. “It just shows you that something turned on, and they decided to take advantage of the situation.”
Mike Hayes, who also lives on Summer Springs Drive, said his delivered package was stolen and he planned to file a report with the sheriff’s office. He also shared home surveillance video of a female suspect with a similar description.
The situation has many neighbors rethinking where they have holiday packages delivered.
Anyone who doesn't want deliveries at their home while they are away should consider having packages delivered at work or to a trustworthy neighbor.
Also, depending on the carrier, you can request to pick up the package in person.
Amazon has a locker service where the package can be delivered and then picked up using a security code.
Meanwhile, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said they are searching for the suspects. Both are described as white females, between the ages of 30 and 40, and between 5’5 to 5’8 feet tall. One has long brown hair with blonde highlights, weighs between 140 to 150 pounds, and was seen wearing a black and gray long-sleeved shirt, dark blue jeans and white sneakers.
The other female suspect is described as having wavy blonde hair, weighs between 160 to 180 pounds, and was last seen wearing a light gray long-sleeved shirt, jeans shorts, and black-and-white sneakers.
Detectives said they may be traveling in a dark-colored Volvo, possibly an XC90. The duo may be responsible for more thefts in the area.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 813-247-8200. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay at 1-800-873-8477 or online at www.crimestopperstb.com.