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Police: Suspects arrested in Phoenix patio furniture thefts

Posted at 3:27 PM, Oct 26, 2016
Two people accused of stealing patio furniture from outside north central Phoenix homes have been arrested.
   
Phoenix police say 34-year-old John Norris and 32-year-old Yvonne Romero are facing charges of theft and trafficking stolen property.
   
It was unclear Wednesday if either has an attorney yet.
   
They say Norris and Romero were in a pickup truck matching the one seen on surveillance video when they were arrested Tuesday.
   
Police say they were investigating more than 10 recent cases of thieves stealing patio furniture off residents' front porches.
   
They say Norris and Romero may be connected to 20 such cases.
   
Most of the thefts occurred between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. 

"It's creepy, we saw some security footage of someone going up on someone's patio and just nonchalant, walking up there, picking it up and taking it off,” said Michele Hinz, a neighbor who saw the surveillance video of the theft on the NextDoor app, an online neighborhood watch tool.

Several other neighbors also saw the video, and when they did, they realized they weren't the only victims, according to police.

One woman even found her stolen property online.

Neighbors are taking notice and taking action.

"If you're missing anything go on Craigslist, SwapMeet, and all those OfferUp apps,” Hinz said.

These sites are helping out police, too. In this case technology and social media lead police to find the pair in the security video.

"I just refinished my little antiques, I had my husband chain it up,” Hinz said on what she’s doing differently after becoming aware of the crimes.

Her security cameras and motion-activated lights are also helping prevent these crimes of opportunity.

Police say no technology will replace officers, but it's helping them investigate some of these lower-priority calls.

"Having those boots on the ground and people looking in their neighborhood is always going to be important, but the old block watch scheme as it was first come up with in the 70s or 80s is evolving,” said Lieutenant Paul Taylor with the Phoenix Police Department.