Monday, November 12, 2007

The Pilfered Papers of N. Thomas St.

Karen McMillan just might buy a small, hidden video camera to catch the thief who steals the Washington Post from her Thomas Street front porch some mornings. The thief does not take her Wall Street Journal or New York Times, and pilfers mainly the Post on weekends and certain week days, sometimes just pulling out the advertising supplements. The thefts have been occurring for several months, she wrote in an email.

Washington Posts have been disappearing from this block of N. Thomas Street.

“During the week, the delivery person throws the paper as early as 4 a.m. If I pick up the paper by 5:30 a.m. it is out there. If I sleep in and pick it up around 6 or after, it is often gone, but not everyday,” she wrote. As well, she wrote that her neighbors have also had papers stolen.

According to Ms. McMillan, the distributor has said other people have had their papers stolen on her 200 N. Thomas St. block as well. Javed Qureshi, the Washington Post distributor in the 22203 ZIP code, did not return phone calls for comment.

For their part, the Arlington County Police Department said that people who have this sort of theft can file a report. However, the police will ask up front whether the people, if a thief is caught, will want to press charges, said Det. Kathryn Rounds, in the media relations office.

Until the total number of thefts reaches $200, the charge is only a misdemeanor, Det. Rounds said. For a lot of people, the small theft and light punishment of a misdemeanor is not worth the hassle of court, Det. Rounds said.

For smaller “nuisance crimes,” she said sometimes it is just easier to find a way to prevent it rather than pursue it. Perhaps the paper can be delivered elsewhere on the property where it is more secure, she suggested.

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Why doesn't she just peep out her window to see who is doing it?
Or perhaps, park her car somewhere from where the newspaper drop can be seen, then be in the car at the suspect time?
Further, she could use either a still camera or a video camera to catch the person in the act.

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