Jeff Horner, of Independence, Missouri, had ordered some presents for his fiancée’s birthday. However, on the morning the big day, he was upset to discover that the presents had been stolen. When neighbors and the community heard what happened, they went all out to track down the thief.
Horner’s fiancée, Kylee Fratto, woke up on the morning of her birthday ready to enjoy the day. However, she soon found out that Horner was very upset. In fact, he’d ordered her some gifts but they had apparently been stolen.
“I wasn’t really expecting anything,” Fratto told Fox 4 News. “And then to wake up to him upset that they’re not here is not a good way to wake up.” Horner had received a notification from the delivery company that the packages had arrived, but when he opened the front door they were gone.
Yet all was not lost, and Horner had an ace up his sleeve. Consequently, he went to check the video records from his own CCTV camera, set up to watch the front of his property. It didn’t take long before he found what he was looking for.
The video showed two people, a man and a woman, behaving oddly as they passed the front of Horner’s home. After a moment, the woman took a detour to Horner’s front porch. Although the CCTV clocked her as she approached the house, it wasn’t positioned to see the front door.
Despite not capturing the woman actually picking up the packages, the camera catches her leaving Horner’s property, her arms full of parcels. Then she actually leaves via the driveway. Perhaps this is because there is a tall bush next to the road, giving the alleged thief some cover.
After the couple called police, Fratto decided to post the video to a local group called Stolen KC on Facebook. Horner and Fratto were taken aback by the response online, which was almost immediate. They began receiving messages about the theft.
“We started getting names, and then once we got names we got Facebooks, we got locations,” Horner explained. The pair who had walked past on CCTV and apparently stolen the packages were recognized on the group. “I mean, that was all before the cops ever showed up,” he added.
Users who claimed to recognize the thieves posted both of their alleged profiles underneath the CCTV video. Furthermore, one user noticed that one of the alleged thieves had posted his phone number to his profile. This too was shared with the Stolen KC group.
“Within 20 minutes [of posting the video], I knew her name, I knew she was over here,” Fratto said, noting that she was grateful for the online response to her issue. “And it just honestly restored faith in humanity because there are still decent people, and not everybody’s a jerk.”
By the time police arrived to see Horner and Fratto, the pair had CCTV images, an identity for the alleged thief and a phone number for her apparent accomplice. As a result, it took police mere hours to track the pair down.
Fratto posted a subsequent message to the Facebook group. “The police are going to the house now. They said with all the information given to use they have enough… to arrest them and put a warrant out for them. It started off bad… now with the amazing help of kind people we will possibly have a solution to this.”
Despite the fact that the Facebook group had helped to hunt down the alleged thieves, there needed to be a note of caution. One user posted that she knew of the man being accused, and that the person in the CCTV was not him. If she was right, it meant that an innocent person had been vilified and had had their details shared.
Funnily enough, the police didn’t have to go far to arrest the alleged thief. As a matter of fact, the woman was found just a few doors away. Indeed, she was so close that Fratto and Horner were actually able to witness her being arrested.
As far as the presents went, the police had some luck. “They were able to recover two of the items,” Horner said. “But there was another two items that weren’t accounted for so [the alleged thief] got half of [Fratto’s] presents.”
Fratto hoped that the alleged thief wouldn’t steal again, having been caught. “Karma – she comes and bites you in the butt. And it will happen one day. It’s just – I don’t think it’s acceptable. If you want something, get a job, pay for it yourself. Don’t steal it from everybody else,” Fratto said.
Later, Fratto wrote a post to update other Stolen KC users about the arrests. Although the woman in the video had been arrested for the thefts, the police were not able to capture the man. He had not been present when the police had shown up.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time that Fratto has been moved to post on the Stolen KC Facebook group. Notably, months before, her car had been broken into by thieves, who took a variety of items. This included a textbook on human anatomy that had cost $450.
On yet another occasion, Fratto wrote to the Stolen KC group about a thief she had caught on video. In this case, a man with a tribal tattoo had broken into their cars. Fratto suspected that this man was also the one who had broken into her car previously.
With the meteoric rise of online shopping, thieves are increasingly stealing packages from people’s homes, as in Fratto’s case. As a result, online retailers are trying to devise solutions to prevent thefts. Fear of people stealing packages actually discourages consumers from shopping online in the first place.