South St. Louis residents fight back against ‘porch pirate’

ST. LOUIS - An accused “porch pirate” is behind bars thanks to vigilant homeowners in south St. Louis City who said they were fed up with packages being stolen from porches in their neighborhood.

One victim’s home surveillance cameras caught the thief in the act. The video shows a man drive past the home located in the 3900 block of Connecticut in the Tower Grove South Neighborhood. Then you see the car back up, a man dressed all in white jump out of the driver’s seat, and snatch a package from the front porch.

A neighbor happened to see the theft in real time and called the homeowner, who checked his Nest app on his cellphone and watched the recorded crime. He wrote on social media that he was at his office in the neighborhood and, while a longshot, decided to drive the neighborhood looking for the car.

"Not even 10 steps out the door did I see the same person from the video driving right by me in the same car," he wrote.

The victim called 911 and followed the suspect’s car to the Kentucky Fried Chicken at Grand and Gravois. St. Louis police arrived to find the suspect hiding in the KFC bathroom. Officers arrested 33-year-old Timothy Starks, who was charged with stealing.

According to court documents, he admitted to taking the stuff and officers found the stolen package in his car.

The victim said there were other items believed to have been stolen recovered in the suspect's car. If you believe you have been a recent victim of package theft, you’re asked to call the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department South Patrol Division at 314-444-0100 to check if any of the recovered items may be yours.