Since before Christmas, residents in Capitol Hill and some other neighborhoods have not been receiving packages that had been sent to their homes. Delivered and left on their door steps during the day, they were stolen by the time homeowners returned in the evening.
The problem persisted beyond the holidays, with complaints filling a D.C. police Internet bulletin board. One man wrote that the remnants of boxes were routinely discarded in an alley near an elementary school, often with the addresses still attached. “Exactly what is being done about the pkg thief?” another resident wrote, demanding that the FBI get called in.
D.C. police said that Tuesday afternoon and early Wednesday, they arrested two men — one 47, the other 51 — in connection with two thefts. Police said both men were carrying what appeared to be stolen property, some taken from a home in the 1100 block of Independence Avenue SE near Lincoln Park. The men are being investigated to see whether they can be linked to other thefts, authorities said.
Police warned homeowners around Christmas that packages left outside could be a target for thieves. One resident reported finding a box of toys that appeared to been sent to a home for Christmas, stolen and discarded, and were looking for the intended recipient.
Cmdr. Daniel Hickson, who heads the 1st Police District, which includes Capitol Hill, told residents on the Internet board that he deployed officers on bicycles to maneuver in alleys, sent undercover detectives into the neighborhoods and partnered with U.S. postal inspectors and security from Federal Express and UPS.
Police said that about 3 p.m. Tuesday, two officers saw a man suspected of taking packages standing in the 200 block of 11th Street SE, holding “several items that appeared to be package contents.” Police said the items had come from a package taken from the home on Independence Avenue. The man was arrested but his name was not immediately available.
Early Wednesday, police said that plainclothes officers on surveillance duty stopped a man in the 700 block of H Street NE. Police said he had several outstanding arrest warrants in connection with other thefts. A police report says that stuffed in his pants, police found kitchen utensils, a turquoise necklace, mascara and toys, along with part of a shipping box.
The suspect, Ronald Madley, 52, of no fixed address, was charged with theft. At the time, he was also facing charges of failing to appear in court to face another theft charge in an arrest in August in Lincoln Park. Court documents allege that he was found in possession of women’s shoes and designer eyeglasses that police said had been stolen from a mailbox.
At a hearing in D.C. Superior Court, Madley was ordered detained until his next court appearance this month.