Cuyahoga Falls police cracking down on package thefts

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio -- The theft of packages from porches has become an annoying and costly crime which is why police in Cuyahoga Falls are aggressively cracking down on the thieves.

An on-board camera was rolling when an officer responding to a 911 call about two men stealing packages caught the suspects in the act.

A witness reported seeing a car, driven by 42-year-old John Kennedy of Akron, slowly moving through the neighborhood, and seeing his passenger, 25-year-old Brandon Berlin, also of Akron, jump out and grab packages.

Inside their car, officers found various parcels, some of which contained medical supplies, and box cutters that the suspects used to cut the packages open.

However, what Kennedy and Berlin did not bank on was the vigilance of neighborhood residents all too familiar with the theft of packages and the fast response of police.

Captain Steve Guldeman told Fox 8 News, “In most situations, when you order something online, you kind of want it now. So ,on the day that it`s supposed to come and it says it is there, and you go out or you come home and find that it`s missing, that`s extremely frustrating, especially if it`s something you need in a hurry.”

The theft of packages has been such a frustrating problem in Cuyahoga Falls that the police department places bait packages around the city that are equipped with GPS monitoring devices that allow officers to follow the thieves after they steal the packages.

Berlin's conduct, caught on camera in the back of a police cruiser, shows how little regard the thieves have for the law and consequences. Even while handcuffed, Berlin pulled a cell phone from his pocket and sent several text messages and even called a friend to arrange for his bail.

Berlin told police that he is an ex-convict and that he was stealing packages because he was having trouble making ends meet.

“He was late on his payments for his rent and was going to lose his car,” said Captain Guldeman. “That`s a terrible way to go, I mean there`s so many organizations that probably could have helped them as opposed to committing a crime.”

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