Empty boxes left behind as thieves strike, steal packages

PAINESVILLE, Ohio – The site of several empty boxes lining a residential street on a Wednesday afternoon seemed odd to Angela Gowdy.

“It wasn’t garbage day so it struck me as strange. I knew something was wrong,” Gowdy explained to FOX 8. “I was just getting home from work and I had my son in the car, so I asked him to go out and look. Many of the boxes had addresses on them that weren’t even in our development.”

She said the boxes were ripped open and most were empty. She immediately called police.

Lake County sheriff detectives say about a dozen residents never received packages they were expecting Wednesday afternoon.

“There are a lot of people out there ready to ruin someone’s holiday,” said Chief Deputy Frank Leonbruno, of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. “You have to be careful.”

Heather Ontiveros, who lives near the area, said she put a 'bait box’ on her porch hoping to help catch the culprits.

“It’s empty, but if someone tries to grab it, I will get their picture with my security camera,” Ontiveros said. “I feel so bad this happens. People work hard to try and buy gifts for their family. They shouldn’t have to worry about people stealing their packages. “

The sheriff’s office says they recommend if people order online, they should have the items delivered to their workplace, a P.O. Box, or an Amazon locker now offered at several stores, including Whole Foods.

Lake County detectives are investigating. No arrests have been made. If anyone has any information on the case they are asked to call the sheriff’s office as soon as possible.