When packages left on doorsteps started to go missing, neighbors stepped in to set up a dragnet. The unexpected result: Video captured an 8-year-old kid swiping boxes in broad daylight.
Clermont, Florida, residents come up with a tricky way to catch the culprit. They left decoy packages and set up a security camera. And then they waited. Think of this as "CSI: Clermont" edition.
A clue that the perp was pintsize should have been the type of loot taken: According to local station CFNews13, the missing packages contained Barbie dolls, children's makeup, and children's cell phones.
Neighbor Jessica Araujo, who runs a business from her home, said she had $1,800 worth of packages that never arrived. She set up the video camera and instructed her daughter, Thalia, to stand watch through the door's peephole for the culprit.
But instead of a mischievous teenager or a passerby, the camera caught an 8-year-old girl, who had just gotten off her school bus. The footage shows her spotting the box and sneaking over on tiptoe to pick it up and walk away with it.
Araujo could not believe her eyes. "Complete and utter shock it wasn't a teenager; it wasn't a passerby -- it was an 8-year-old, one year younger than my daughter."
Police told the news station that they had found pieces of the open package nearby, allegedly where the girl tore it open. They don't believe anyone else was involved in the crime.
The neighbor who helped crack the case would like to see the girl apologize. She said, "We want something done, in the form of the parents stepping up to the plate, taking accountability and saying, 'We're sorry this happened to you and the other neighbors,' maybe even having the child come over and apologize."
Police plan to bring evidence of the case to the juvenile division of the Florida state Attorney's Office to see what can be done with such a young suspect.
On the other hand, the mother-daughter team may have a future in law enforcement.