LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A porch pirate has been caught swiping packages in the Midtown area, but this isn’t a spur of the moment thief; the culprit wears a unique outfit to scope out his targets and knows exactly which homes to hit up.
At least four posts on the popular Nextdoor app, all within the past month and all in the same area, describe a man in a beige car and a reflective safety vest picking up packages and going through the mail. One post describes a similar crime, with the person of interest wearing a more casual outfit and going after a lockbox. The man appears to carefully target the homes he steals from, swooping in soon after a package is delivered or if there has been no activity at the home for some time.
Ashley Kemp and her family are some of the latest victims. They live on Illinois Street in Little Rock, an area that has been targeted by the same mysterious man at least twice.
Just after lunch Wednesday, her husband was alerted by their Nest security camera to someone at their front door.
“He got a notification on his phone that there was a person there,” Kemp said. She remembers the man who pulled into their driveaway and knocked on the door wearing a yellow safety vest and carrying an iPad.
Nothing initially seemed wrong until the stranger knocked on their door, picked up the cooler full of catering that had just been delivered, rifled through their mailbox, and headed back to his car.
Kemp says given his calm attitude and strange attire, it appeared that this man had been scoping out the area and preparing for the theft.
“This is definitely….people are planning it,” Kemp said.
The Kemp’s aren’t alone; others in the Midtown area had fallen victim to the same vest-wearing man, driving the same style of car in every heist.
For neighbors like Michael Graham, the string of crime is worrisome, although he mentions thieves can be anywhere.
“We moved so that we could all be in a better neighborhood,” Graham said. “[But] no matter where you live, it’s never going to be so safe.”
That worry has changed the way Kemp and others receive packages, with the mom saying she now plans on having all deliveries go somewhere other than her front door.
While other package victims have filed police reports, Kemp said she and her husband called 911, the non-emergency police line, and even the mayor’s office, but no one picked up. She adds 911 did return her call, but so far, no one has been out to investigate the theft.