Teen arrested for stealing packages during holiday season

Took advantage of dad's UPS job

LAND O' LAKES, Fla. — From laptops to cell phones, people in the Wilderness Lake Preserve neighborhood started noticing someone was stealing things they were ordering online around Christmas.

“People were just missing things left and right,” said resident Maria Martin.

Pasco Sheriff’s deputies eventually found the suspected thief with a house full of stuff.

Investigators say it’s a 15-year-old boy in the same community, who took advantage of his father’s seasonal delivery job with UPS.

They say the boy cut open the boxes, and replaced the items with things he thought weighed about the same amount.

“He would take a MacBook Air and replace that with a book. There was a Ring Video Doorbell that he replaced with a bottle of soda and bottled water,” said Cpl. Andrew Denbo.

Deputies say they found a couple thousands of dollars worth of stolen stuff, including an Amazon box belonging to Maria Martin.

“I still have teenagers and I can’t imagine having to be in the parents shoes at this point,” she said.

Deputies hand delivered some of the items back to their owners.

And they are working on the rest, including Christmas and birthday cards sent from a grandmother in Texas.

As for the teen, he was arrested and deputies say his parents had no idea what he was up to.

“They were in the position that he should be held accountable and go to jail for what he had done,” said Denbo.

“It may effect him the rest of his life and they don’t realize that. It’s going to follow him,” said Martin.

Deputies say the teen was selling some of the things online. But it wasn’t hard to track him down, because the book he used to replace a laptop came from his own middle school.

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