Package thief steals donated coats for kids off Northern Liberties steps

NORTHERN LIBERTIES (WPVI) -- A Philadelphia homeowner wants her neighbors on alert after a package thief was caught on camera swiping boxes that held donations for children in need right off her front step.

It happened last Friday on the 800 block of North Lawrence Street in Northern Liberties.

Police say the suspect walked up to the home and then walked away with three of four packages left by UPS on the front step.

"First of all, it was bold. It's bold move. It was about 4:20 p.m. Broad daylight," victim Danielle Scheffey told Action News.

Scheffey didn't realize the packages were missing until a few days later when she checked the tracking on one of them. Then she checked her surveillance video and there he was.

But only one of the packages was a Christmas gift she had purchased. The other packages he took were coat donations for kids.

"It was really disappointing because I knew that some of those packages weren't things I bought. And I knew that they were probably donations for the kids. And when I was finally able to find out what was in the boxes and who had sent them I found out that three less kids now are going to be getting a coat this year," Scheffey said.

Scheffey has been collecting donations of winter gear from friends on social media.

She intends to give the coats, hats and gloves to less fortunate children who attend GW Childs School in South Philadelphia.

"It's a huge bummer. Luckily for me, what was taken from me, the company I bought it from was happy to replace it, no questions asked, and re-ship a new item out the following day. The unfortunate thing about the donations are that not all of those companies were willing to send those items back out for free," Scheffey said.

The suspect was wearing a brown coat, tan boots, black skull cap, and a distinct Police and Fire Credit Union backpack.

Scheffey posted the surveillance video on the Northern Liberties community page.

She got an immediate response from her neighbors.

"He was almost immediately recognized by five or six people who had either also been victims of his package theft or people who had actually witnessed him stealing packages and tried to get the police there," Scheffey said.

Scheffey saw the suspect twice in Northern Liberties on Monday, but she couldn't get police to the location quite fast enough.

She wants her neighbors to be aware in hopes police can catch up to him. She's also trying to figure out how to replace the donated coats he took.

Anyone with information should call Central Detectives at 215-686-3093/3094 or 215-686-TIPS.
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