Packages go missing for weeks before Carlstadt residents realize there's a thief

CeFaan Kim Image
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Packages go missing for weeks before residents realize there's a thief
CeFaan Kim reports from Carlstadt, New Jersey.

CARLSTADT, New Jersey (WABC) -- It's a holiday package thief story, but it's not about the crook. It's how he got caught. It started with residents on Hackensack Street in Carlstadt, New Jersey, more than a month ago.

"I had a package disappear. I didn't think about it at all," one resident told Eyewitness News.

But he wasn't alone.

"I thought it was a mis-shipment, that it got lost in the mail," another resident said.

A few weeks go by and a tenant says, "A neighbor friend of mine said he didn't get his package."

At first they didn't think much of it, but then the super of one building had a package missing, and then he had a resident tell him she had the same problem.

Then that super called his brother who owns the building next door.

Between the two of them they realized there were a lot of packages missing.

"That's when I got to thinking someone might be swiping packages," said Peter Bray, Superintendent.

In comes security video from Monday, shot with a cell phone by a tenant who had had enough after being hit four times.

As soon as cops saw the video, they sprung into action in less than 24 hours using a decoy package.

"That is a controlled item. We know where it came from from the beginning," said Det. Sgt. John Cleary, Carlstadt Police Department.

After an hour of waiting on Tuesday, the thief showed up pushing a cart full of stolen packages.

Cops say it took him mere seconds to snatch each one up, barely breaking stride.

"It's a busy time of year and people have shopping carts all the time of this fashion so he would blend right in," Cleary said.

Police say 51-year-old Anthony Raspavolo confessed immediately.

The distinct backpack seen in the video was in his shopping cart when they nabbed him.

Police say Raspavolo told them he stole the packages to support his heroin addiction.

Residents say thousands of dollars of goods were stolen, which investigators think he sold within hours for a fraction of their worth.

Cops say Raspavolo lives just two doors down.


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