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Local police track down porch pirate with the help of technology and some alert neighbors

The man stole a pool pump the family had waited a long time to receive.
Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 9:51 PM EDT
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OREGON, Ohio (WTVG) - An Oregon family has a prized possession back tonight thanks to a lot of strangers and the police department. It all started last week when a man wandered up to the Mitchell home, and stole a package.

The story starts like so many others involving porch pirates. Ann Mitchell was at work last week when her home security system alerted her that someone was at her front door.

“I saw a man coming up to the door and knocking. He looked suspicious, I didn’t recognize him.”

Ann says the next thing she knew, she watched the man take off with a package containing a pool pump she’d been waiting a long time to receive.

“At that point I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I felt violated, so I called the police.”

She also got right to work spreading the word on a community Facebook page.

“Before I knew it, the post on the Oregon Community Page had about 300 shares, and several comments. I also got messages from people saying they knew the man.

OPD Officer Joel Turner took the call about the theft. Thanks to the help of the security cameras and the community, he arrested Carl Smith within hours.

“It was nice to serve the community from the point of taking the call, to putting the individual in handcuffs, and finally retrieving the missing property. We don’t always get to see cases all the way through like that so quickly. Sometimes they are turned over to detectives, or they go unsolved. It means a lot to me to see how our work impacts other lives like that,” says Turner.

Officer Turner hand-delivered the pool pump back to the Mitchell family not long after the arrest.

“This is what community policing is all about. When we all come together we can solve a lot of crimes,” he says.

Tuesday night Officer Turner was glad to get a firsthand look at the importance of his work.

“I love seeing the kids out enjoying the pool. I wish I could be out there with them,” he says.

Ann is grateful to everyone who helped make this possible.

“People took time out of their day to help me get a pool pump back for my kids. It meant a lot to me. It makes me feel better about the community I am in, and the people I am around.”

According to police, Carl Smith has been charged with theft in connection with this case. At last check, he was still being held in the Lucas County Jail.

Ann says this also serves as an important reminder to all parents to make sure your children do not open the door for anyone they don’t know.

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