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Pair accused of stealing packages off front porches

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 24 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 25 2013 05:31:03 PM CST

Two thieves are off the streets after swiping packages from people's homes in Berks County, said police.

MAIDENCREEK TWP., Pa. -

Two thieves are off the streets after swiping packages from the front porches of homes in Berks County, said police.

A small package was shipped and delivered, but never received. A quiet community in Maidencreek Township fell victim to the growing problem of thieves stealing packages from front porches.

"You don't think of it happening in your own neighborhood," said Steve Dybowski, who lives on the street where the package was taken.

According to police, the theft happened Thursday afternoon in the 400 block of Troy Drive.

An off-duty police officer saw two guys in a red Dodge minivan pull into a driveway. One man got out and swiped a package off the front steps, said police.

"He removed and carried the package back to the van, got into the van and drove off," said Sgt. Brian Horner, Northern Berks Regional Police Dept.    

The off-duty officer followed the van and saw it back up into another driveway on Liberty Drive. The driver got out and went to the front of the house, but when he saw the officer, he acted like he was knocking on the door, said police.

"The driver ended up getting back into the vehicle and sped off," said Horner.

The off-duty officer approached the suspects. He was able to write down their registration and contact police.

The van was spotted minutes later at the Sheetz gas station on Fifth Street Highway in Muhlenberg Township. The driver, Ellis Garman, was taken into custody, and a cardboard box was found in the van, said police.

The other suspect, Jonathan Wagner, was found walking in the Carpet Mart parking lot next to the Sheetz.

"We get packages all the time on our front porch you know it's strange. You think they're safe," said Dybowski.

"It's unusual, you have to keep an eye out for everything," said Jack Gage, who lives on Troy Drive.

Garman, 34, and Wagner, 24, are facing a list of charges including theft by unlawful taking.

"These individuals could have been involved in other ones. An investigation is ongoing," said Horner.

Authorities advised if you're missing a package, contact your local police department.