Update (Feb. 7, 2017)-- Ashley White was sentenced to 357 days of probation after pleading guilty to theft charges.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Metro police have arrested three teenagers who they say tried to “steal the holiday spirit” from residents in Indianapolis, Speedway and Avon.
Police believe 19-year-old Chrystopher Brubaker, 18-year-old Ashley White and an unnamed 17-year-old stole several packages from porches over the past three weeks.
During the course of their investigation, officers obtained a vehicle description, including a license plate number, from a witness who believed the suspects' actions were suspicious. They also were given surveillance footage showing one of the suspects and their vehicle in a separate incident.
Using the vehicle description and surveillance footage, detectives determined that both incidents were related and quickly identified a suspect vehicle.
Investigators began a patterned surveillance operation and on Friday, they witnessed the suspects steal packaged from a front porch in an Avon neighborhood.
Officers found several packages inside the suspects’ vehicle and arrested the teens. At the time of their arrests, police say the suspects had a 9-month old baby in the car and a 6th grader of whom they had just picked-up from school.
“With cooperation from witnesses and the relentless efforts of law enforcement, the holiday season was saved for some residents and suspected thieves were arrested,” said police in a statement.
Metro police say they encourage residents to capture suspicious activity on their cell phone or record information on a piece of paper and get it to law enforcement.
Theft victim reacts to arrests
Court documents reveal police found eight packages inside the suspects' vehicle when they were arrested. Multiple victims were targeted by the alleged thieves.
Samantha Pezzute is accustomed to ordering products online and getting them delivered to her home.
"We’re big online shoppers and we’ve never had a single package go missing," she said. "It's always in the mailbox or front porch."
But, her problem-free streak ended last week when two Best Buy packages were missing. Just two days later, an Avon police officer showed up at her door.
"He asked us if we were missing any packages," Pezzute said. "The police officer was like 'yeah, we actually found a box with your name on it.'"
She soon learned about the arrests.
"I was surprised," she said. "I would’ve never expected teenagers. It's disappointing."
Pezzute said she is grateful for the victim who was able to get surveillance video of one of the suspects and for the witness who provided police with a license plate number.
"I feel lucky that I am one of the people that they may be able to recover my packages," Pezzute said. "I know there are other people who may not be as lucky especially if it was weeks ago. [Suspects] may have already sold those items and they won't be able to recover it."
Police gave Pezzute a case number but she has to get her stolen items back.