METROPOLIS, IL — Surveillance cameras show a man stealing an Amazon package from the front porch of a church parsonage in Metropolis, Illinois. Now, police need your help finding the porch bandit.
The theft happened just before 5 p.m. Wednesday on Catherine Street.
The surveillance video shows a man walking past the parsonage of First Christian Church. He then turned around, walked to the parsonage, and snatched the Amazon package right off the front porch.
The man continued walking along the side of the parsonage and past the church, going by a total of three surveillance cameras, seemingly without noticing them.
Josh Shepherd lives at the parsonage with his wife, who is a youth pastor at the church. He said he found out about the theft only a few minutes after it happened. Shepherd was working at SmartPath Technologies in Calvert City when he got an email from Amazon that his package was delivered.
"I was about to leave for the day," Shepherd recalled. "I pulled the security camera footage up on the house, and I noticed the box was gone. And I thought maybe my wife had picked it up. Well, I pulled up the previous footage from a couple minutes ago, and I saw him walk away with it."
Shepherd noted that while the thief was walking away with the package, he passed right by the church while Shepherd's wife was inside teaching a youth group.
Shepherd said he called police immediately and sent them the footage.
The package itself contained about $600 worth of items, including a $500 projector for the church's youth group. Shepherd said the kids had raised the money themselves to buy the projector so they could have movie nights.
"The idea was to bring parents over and just have some kind of age-appropriate movie to play outside the church," Shepherd explained.
Shepherd is actually an expert on security cameras, since part of what he does at work is installing them. Even while at the office, Shepherd can monitor in real time anything that his surveillance cameras see at home. The three cameras at his parsonage are fairly large, so Shepherd was surprised the thief was so brazen.
"Just kind of disappointed," said Shepherd. "I didn't expect somebody to come up and steal it in broad daylight. I mean, I was worried about leaving it out at night. But at 5 o'clock in the afternoon? Nah."
The man in the surveillance video has little hair, a brown beard and mustache, and appears to have tattoos on both arms. He was wearing a bandanna, sunglasses, black pants with a white stripe on each leg, and a white T-shirt.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the Metropolis Police Department at 618-524-2310.
Shepherd said he found the empty cardboard box of the package near his home Thursday morning. He said he will bring it to police.
Police Chief Harry Masse said one way to keep a package safe is to have it delivered to a neighbor who is home. Another way is to have them delivered to your workplace, which Shepherd said he'll be doing from now on.