OPD Investigators Ask For Public's Help Identifying Thieves

By: Melina Matthes

OMAHA (kptm) - It's been nine months since a west Omaha family of seven had their mini van and Christmas presents stolen, but the crooks made a dumb mistake and the family is using technology to track them down.

Fox 42 spoke with the family and police. They're now asking for your help to catch a group of thieves in this week's Caught On Camera.

The maintenance supervisor at the Village at Grant Square said thieves are constantly leaving stolen vehicles in their community. Management is fed up and they hope someone has information that can help authorities.

Police say they finally have a lead; the suspects took photos of themselves with stolen iPods.

A west Omaha family was heading out for church. The dad opened the garage door and started the van.

However, when he went back inside to grab the kids, thieves jumped in and backed out of the driveway. "I probably froze for a few seconds. It was just kind of a moment of disbelief. Then I ran out into the driveway and looked up and down the street and was hoping I'd see them turning the corner but I didn't see anything."

That's when he realized his van had been stolen. Along with five iPods his kids got for Christmas. "Several of them were tearful and cried and were asking why somebody would steal."

Investigators said they found the mini van in the parking lot of the Village at Grant Square apartment complex off 74th and Grant Street.

The maintenance supervisor said they repainted the lines in the parking lot. When several vehicles hadn't been moved, he said he knew there was a problem. He called authorities but it was to late. The family's mini van had already been ransacked. The car seats were missing, the stroller was gone and the five iPods were nowhere to be found.

"We got the van back, of course the iPods weren't there and then after a period of time we were looking through a photo stream on one of our phones and noticed some pictures that didn't belong to our family and realized the stolen iPods were still linked to our photo stream account."

The photos gave him and his family; hope that the thieves would be caught. However police haven't been able to identify them. They are now asking for the public's help to find them. "I think my kids and my family would feel good to know that whoever did this had been caught. You really scared my wife and kids and caused a lot of sadness and terror at times in our family for reasons that they don't really understand."

Investigators say if you have any information that can help them out or if you recognize the people from the photos, to contact Crime Stoppers at 402-444-STOP. You will remain anonymous and you can be eligible for a cash reward.