TAMPA, Fla. - A man was arrested in Tampa after police said he stole packages from over 20 homes in the South Seminole Heights neighborhoods over a multiple-month span.
According to the Tampa Police Department, Hyson Williams, 42, was arrested on Thursday at around 11 p.m. following a traffic stop.
Williams stole packages from homes in the South Seminole Heights neighborhood over a span between October 15 and December 4. Through Ring Camera footage, detectives identified Williams as the suspect of interest in several of those cases.
"There is no easier target for criminals than packages left in plain view," said Chief Lee Bercaw. "Don't let criminals enjoy the holidays at your cost. Invest in tools and put into practice techniques that conceal and protect your valuables."
He was charged with five counts of Felony Petit Theft and one count of Felony Burglary of an Unoccupied Dwelling. Additional charges are still pending.
With the holiday season in full swing, TPD provided some tips for residents to minimize their risk of becoming a ‘porch pirate’ target:
- Purchase a porch lock box that is designed to receive packages and keep them secure. Typically lock boxes can only be opened with a key or lock combination.
- Utilizing the feature to track a package, ask a friend, neighbor, or family member to pick up your package(s) once they're delivered.
- If given the option, require a signature upon delivery.
- Request for packages to be delivered at secure locations such as Amazon lockers, FedEx or UPS stores.
- Bonus: If you plan on delivering a package directly to a recipient, give them a heads-up and ask if they have a delivery preference.