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2016-12-21 / Featured / Front Page

Thieves hit porches in Chester Village

BY BEN ORCUTT CONTRIBUTING WRITER


Gary “Joe” Johnson and his wife, Avis, installed a security system at their home in Chester Village after at least three packages went missing from their front steps. Gary “Joe” Johnson and his wife, Avis, installed a security system at their home in Chester Village after at least three packages went missing from their front steps. While they’re not sure who it is, some Chester Village residents say there’s a Grinch out there who’s trying to steal Christmas.

Since Nov. 1, at least 10 packages have been stolen from among the 125 homes in the upscale community behind the Chester Library.

“It tends to be Tuesdays and Wednesdays,” said Florence Harrison, manager of the Chester Village homeowners association. “I don’t really know what’s going on. We’ve never had this problem before.”

It’s difficult to determine who the culprit or culprits may be, Harrison said, adding that she’s not sure if one of the problems may be that packages remain on front porches for long periods of time before residents return home.

“I just feel like this is the sign of the times, I guess,” Harrison said. “I feel like [it’s] because so many people order things and have it delivered to their home.”

Harrison said she’s encouraging Chester Village residents who have packages that are missing to file a report with the Chesterfield County Police Department.

“They won’t know that we’re having a problem unless we call them,” she said. Gary “Joe” Johnson, who has lived with his wife, Avis, at Chester Village for three and a half years, filed such a report last week after having two packages go missing.

“I am, I think, the first person in this community that has officially given them a report,” Johnson said.

The first package was a $12 box of Lactaid that he ordered for his wife, who is milk intolerant, Johnson said, adding that, according to tracking information provided to him by the Chester Post Office, the package was delivered on Nov. 1.

The second package was a $75 pair of tennis shoes that the Johnsons’ daughter, Lesley Johnson, had ordered online and directed that it be sent to their address, Johnson said.

The shoes were for a 13-year-old girl who had placed the item on a wish list that the Johnsons’ church, Wesley Chapel United Methodist in Matoaca, was trying to fill as part of its missions work.

Johnson said his daughter told him that tracking information indicated that the shoes were delivered on Dec. 6. But, he said, they never got the shoes. And over the weekend he learned that his granddaughter also purchased items from American Girl, the online doll retailer, that were scheduled to arrive at Johnson’s home on Dec. 6. Johnson never got them, either.

Harrison sent Chester Village residents an email shortly after Dec. 6 that another residence had reported a missing package, Johnson said.

“This community is basically gray-head, retired people,” Johnson said. “Our manager is very good about communicating with us when these things happen, so everybody’s on the alert to be on the lookout.”

Avis Johnson said that prior to moving to Chester Village, she and her husband lived in Matoaca for 37 years and never had any problems with missing packages. She said they didn’t expect any problems at Chester Village, especially since they live on a main thoroughfare.

Undaunted, Johnson said he and his wife replaced the tennis shoes, which cost more than $100, and he also installed a security camera for about $180. He and his wife do about 95 percent of their shopping online.

“We’re out of some money,” Avis Johnson added. “Lesley’s out of money out of her pocket. But the most important thing of all is that these children who have so little are going to have what they need. If it’s any way possible that we can pull it off, they are going to have what they want. Evil will not triumph over good.” ¦

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