Put porch thieves out of business

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No, it was not “just” a blanket that was stolen from a Coeur d’Alene family last weekend.

The thief or thieves stole a piece of a little girl’s heart.

Among the items taken from the Clements family’s porch in The Landings was a package containing a blanket made by 7-year-old Josslyn’s grandmother, who lives in Texas. Because of cost and distance, Grandma has only been able to visit her North Idaho family twice. There was a lot of love stuffed in those stolen packages, because the gifts had to serve in grandmother’s absence.

The thief or thieves were likely aware of the Clements family’s movements last Saturday. The items were stolen after the family left the house to attend Josslyn’s gymnastics meet, and the empty packages were then returned when the family left a second time. That gesture only added to the grief, father Nate Clements said.

As much as the community wishes the thieves would return the blanket to Josslyn, that’s not likely to happen. To have visited the porch twice on a Saturday and get away with it would only be tempting fate to go back a third time, even if a small act of contrition were the motivation.

Nor can people pin this on law enforcement. It’s impossible to patrol neighborhoods to the extent necessary to thwart package thieves, who are rarely caught, based on the lack of arrests and successful prosecutions. To really make an impact on these bad people will take a village, one neighborhood at a time.

Please keep an eye out for your neighbors — and for people you haven’t seen before, walking or driving down your street. Report any suspicious activity immediately. If you see a suspected theft occurring, don’t try to intervene; just get as much information as possible, including description of the suspects, vehicle and license number.

Better still, why not figure out a way to help each other out? If you know a package is likely to be delivered when you’re away from home, ask your neighbor to grab it and hold onto it until you return, then reciprocate. The best defense is ensuring there’s nothing on the porch to steal.

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