Queens Man Tracks Down Thief Who Stole Package From His Front Porch

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A fed-up homeowner tracked down a thief who stole a package left at his Queens home.

As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, the thief looked right into a surveillance camera before snatching a box off the front stoop of Jason Gratz’s house on Beach 139th Street in Belle Harbor on Tuesday morning.

“That’s the worst thing about it – not what’s in the contents of the package. It could have been $1, it could have been $1 million, it didn’t really matter. Just the feeling of being violated like that, it really just burned me,” he told Sanchez.

Surveillance video shows the ponytailed robber pausing to eye his target before turning his black cap, contemplating his getaway, and then grabbing the package.

Gratz believes the suspect was on the hunt.

“My camera goes two houses down. You see him walking, looking in cars and you see him checking out other people’s porches, as well,” he said. “So he was perusing the whole neighborhood.”

He immediately posted the video and the suspect’s face on a community Facebook page.

Esther Lejbovitz thought the thief dressed in red and black might be the same one seen in her surveillance video stealing a box and bag outside her home on Dickens Street in Far Rockaway on Saturday morning. He’s later seen ripping the box apart and tossing it, keeping the toy gifts that were meant for Lejbovitz’s children.

“It’s awful. It’s supposed to be a time to give to people not to take,” she said.

The suspect appears to be heavier set and older than the man seen stealing Gratz’s holiday package.

Gratz walked all over his neighborhood and found a construction crew at a condominium that recognized the suspect as someone who had been working at the site, which is just two blocks from his home.

He said he tracked down where the suspect works and informed police, hoping they make a quick arrest.

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