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A Cautionary Tale of Theft, Lies, and Videotape


APD Arrests Package Thief - Twice

On Thursday afternoon Holly Norman had a "bad feeling" about an Amazon delivery. She was at work but able to remotely check on her Sheeler Oaks home using her front porch surveillance camera. The video confirmed her feeling. A young women had walked up to her door and taken the package.

Out of frustration she posted the video on Facebook around 10:00 PM Thursday night. By Friday morning more than 10,000 people had seen the video, including Detectives Steven Landry and Andrew Parkinson from the Apopka Police Department.

Even though a crime had not been reported, the APD detectives opened an investigation and began to work the case. Within a few hours they had identified the suspected thief, a 15-year old girl. They contacted Holly who agreed to sign a complaint. A search warrant was obtained and the missing package and marijuana was found in the girl's bedroom.

APD then went to the suspect's school and placed her under arrest, charging her with burglary. In Florida burglary is a 3rd degree felony. The penalty can be from one to five years in prison.

On Monday morning APD received a call from another resident of Sheeler Oaks. Another package had gone missing from another front door. Like Norman, this resident had a surveillance video and showed it to the APD patrol officer who responded to the call. The video showed the package being removed from the front porch the previous Friday afternoon. The officer recognized one of the persons on the video. It was the girl arrested on Friday. The detectives were called and ultimately the girl was arrested for the second time along with a 16 year old boy.

So ends this cautionary tale. Two young lives damaged due to poor choices. Did the juveniles realize they were risking their future for the unknown contents of a brown box on the front porch of a neighbor's home?

According to APD Captain Randy Fernandez, "crimes of opportunity" are all too frequent in Apopka. Packages left on doorsteps and in unlocked cars in driveways and parking lots are the most common targets.

"Apopkans can help us by reducing the number of opportunities," says Fernandez. "Lock your car doors. Have packages delivered to your workplace if possible."

The Apopka Voice also asked Fernandez about the role of social media in solving crimes.

"We love surveillance systems," was his response. "But we prefer that people show the videos to us before posting on social media. If a criminal sees themselves committing a crime on Facebook they can make our job much more difficult. They can run. They can hide or destroy evidence. In this case we were able to move quickly, but that does not always happen."

Fernandez also recommends Apopkans report all suspected crimes, no matter how small. Solving crimes quickly minimizes the number of victims affected by the same criminal(s). Reported crime data is often crucial in helping to solve crimes and in making sure the perpetrators are properly punished.



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