To Catch A Newspaper Thief

Sometimes real life reinforces the lessons I’m learning in the course of my public safety education. Take this otherwise unidentifiable fellow below, who triggered the motion sensors of my front porch cam this morning, and was thus digitally captured stealing today’s newspaper (click them for the bigger pictures):


Thanks to the newspaper delivery person not tossing today’s edition high enough up onto our front steps, this male in a red long-sleeved shirt and black baseball cap, happened upon its accessibility. In the image on the left, he’s paused and is looking toward the street (perhaps to make sure no one is around to witness his impending act). Then, 18 seconds later in the frame on the right, he’s facing the house, having either begun to go down to get the paper on the lower steps or standing back up after taking it.

Coincidentally the exam we had last week was on property crimes, two of which this suspect committed: trespassing and petty theft (California Penal Code sections 602 and 488):

In class I learned that the elements required for the crime of trespassing to be complete are:

  • any person who enters any land, whether unenclosed or enclosed by fence,
  • for the purpose of injuring any property or property rights or
  • interfering with, obstructing, or injuring any lawful business or occupation
  • carried on by the owner of the land, the owner’s agent, or by the person in lawful possession.

And we also learned the elements that are necessary for petty theft to be complete:

  • the taking and
  • carrying away of
  • personal property of another without consent
  • with intent to permanently deprive the owner.

For those of you thinking it might be classifiable as burglary, that could only happen if he entered the actual residence to take the newspaper. Instead, for a $1 newspaper this fellow committed two misdemeanors, each punishable with six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

But wait! There’s more: Upon discovering the paper missing shortly after 8 a.m., I saw that the twine wrapped around the paper had been removed and dropped on our bottom most step,  which means the suspect added the infraction of littering (California Penal Code Section 374.4) to such an illustrious resume.

If the overtly clinical tone of this post has left you wondering what’s been done with the Will who usually rants ballistically about such transgressions, rest assured, he’s still here — and wishing the images captured provided a clearer picture of the culprit for which to file a police report. In the meantime I’m simply deploying another crucial aspect of my training: objectivity.

And keeping an eye open wide for the next attempt.

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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."