KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 11, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
Katy home security and doorbell cameras capture more than yard crews, neighbors walking dogs, and the occasional curious squirrel. Locally, crimes are also being caught on camera - from vehicle break-ins, porch pirates, and during this election season - sign thefts. Homeowners regularly share these recordings with the authorities and on social media to warn their neighbors.
A Katy Ring Doorbell camera catches a glimpse of a porch pirate. Photo credit: Harris County Constable's Office, Precinct 5 Facebook page.
Porch Pirates Strike in Katy
As the incidents of porch pirating continue to rise in Katy, cameras catch more of these crimes in the act allowing good images to be shared with local authorities and communities.
In 2019, porch pirating became a felony that ranges from six months to 10 years of jail time.
Last week, a package was swiped from a Katy resident at the 22700 block of Rangeview Drive in Katy. The porch pirate was caught on camera. In the video, the suspect is clearly seen as a young Hispanic male with a thin build. He approaches the resident's porch and steals multiple packages. He is wearing a Red Bull t-shirt and dark pants in the video.
Constable Ted Heap has shared the video hoping the public can help identify this thief.
Anyone recognizing the suspect, or having information that could help in solving this felony crime, should contact Deputy Jess Flores or share their tip via the Precinct 5 Online Crime Tip page.
Constable Ted Heap Offers Tips for Katy Residents to Protect Packages:
If you can't be at home during normal delivery hours, have someone you trust receive the packages instead.
Have packages delivered to where you are such as your place of work.
If you live in an apartment, have your packages delivered to the front office.
Request that online retailers require a signature when delivering a package.
Have UPS and FedEx hold your packages at their facilities until you can pick them up.
If your packages are stolen, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.
Political Sign Theft
During this election season, Katy residential cameras have caught political signs being stolen out of front yards.
“Stealing signs will be investigated like any other theft at Precinct 5,” says Jeff McShan, Public Information Officer to Harris County Constable’s Office, Precinct 5.
“It happens every election cycle,” says Major Chad Norvell with Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. “It would be a misdemeanor charge for theft, but I am not aware of anyone ever prosecuted.”
“In Harris County, police do not charge individuals with crimes,” says McShan. “The District Attorney’s office looks at reports and then decides whether to charge someone of a crime. They have a public integrity division that specifically looks into crimes like this with their own investigators.”
On September 9 around 7 p.m., a doorbell camera caught two teens stealing a Trump sign from a yard in Kelliwood Gardens.
“Parents, please remind your kids it is theft and trespassing to steal signs from someone’s yard and throw it in the street drain,” wrote homeowner, Thomas Masha on Nextdoor.
“Homeowners should be able to display the sign of whomever they support without fear of the sign being stolen,” says Major Norvell.
On September 5, over $3,000 worth of tools were stolen from a truck overnight at Cinco Ranch’s Greenway Village.
If you have seen the suspect in the pictures please contact Harris County Constables Office, Constable Ted Heap’s Office 281-463-6666.
“It’s obvious that this individual had no fear,” says victim Duane Siebold. “He made multiple trips from my truck to his.”
“Please make sure that y’all are keeping your vehicles and doors locked,” says Siebold. “The criminals are getting bolder.”
The theft was caught on camera and is under investigation.