David Dale, 30, of Reseda, was caught on camera stealing packages of bible camp items from a porch in the San Fernando Valley
The mail thief who was seen on home surveillance video smiling as he stole packages from a house in Northridge, California, was caught after a victim launched her own investigation.
David Dale, 30, was arrested less than 48hours after the victim posted video of the theft to her Facebook asking if anyone could identify the man.
Within hours of the post, Tadji Akhavan Smith found victims in the area that they believe was the work of the same man.
Dale may be responsible or at least 20 package thefts in the San Fernando Valley, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Dale is seen pulling into the driveway and stealing packages from a home in Northridge, California
Police arrested the man and found stolen items in his car. It’s believed he has stolen packages from 20 other homes in the San Fernando Valley
Smith with was surprised to come home Saturday night to three missing packages on her doorstep that she knew were delivered.
Smith said the boxes were full of her personal notes and sermons from bible camp.
She checked the security footage and saw a gray Honda Civic pull up in her driveway, a man get out of the car, pick up the packages and drive away.
Smith posted the video to Facebook and in community groups. The post said: ‘Got home from an amazing concert tonight to discover that three packages were stolen from our doorstep. Happened at about 4pm. Who knows this jerk?? Who can read the license plate?’
Tadji Akhavan Smith had personal notes and sermons from bible camp stolen from her porch.
She posted to Facebook and connected with two other victims
She gave all her investigative work to detectives and said they were ‘as excited as I was’ with the solid evidence
She was pleased to two fellow victims and even people who knew the suspect.
‘(It was) everything you could ever hope for. And this was within 10 hours of just hitting the ground and doing the detective work,’ Smith told CBS Los Angeles.
She gave all her investigative work to detectives and said they were ‘as excited as I was’ with the solid evidence.
Smith contacted detectives and gave them all the information she had gathered about the accused thief.
Police arrested Dale in a sting Monday night and found many stolen items in his car.
The department commended Smith for her great detective work, but remind others it’s important to contact authorities first as to not muddle an investigation.
Smith has yet to retrieve her stolen items, but is glad ‘I was able to help myself but also help all these other people that he had victimized as well.’