SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — Packages stolen from homes throughout Santa Cruz County were found wrapped as presents underneath a Christmas tree Tuesday night, sheriff’s officials said Wednesday.
Deputies found 10 to 15 gifts under a tree during a probation search at a home on the west side of Santa Cruz shortly after 9 p.m., sheriff’s Sgt. Roy Morales said.
Residents had been contacting the sheriff’s office over the past few weeks to report packages delivered by mail to their homes were stolen, Morales said.
A Ben Lomond resident whose package was taken from their home’s front porch saw the theft captured through their home surveillance system and posted the video to the website of local television news station KSBW, Morales said.
Investigators received a tip identifying the thief as 33-year-old Emily Duncan based on the video, according to Morales.
Deputies went to her Santa Cruz home on Monday afternoon when they conducted a probation search at the home while Duncan was present and found a few items they believed were stolen, Morales said.
Investigators were able to develop more information in the case and returned to the home Tuesday night for another probation search, according to Morales.
Deputies unwrapped gifts near the Christmas tree and found more stolen items including electronics, toys and jewelry boxes, the sergeant said.
Duncan was not at the home during Tuesday’s search, but her family is cooperating with the investigation, Morales said.
Detectives are going through the items and working on identifying who they belong to, according to Morales.
If detectives cannot determine who owns the items, they will post photos of the property on the sheriff’s office’s social media sites to figure out who are the rightful owners, Morales said.
Duncan is currently on felony probation violation in relation to the case and has not been located as of Wednesday afternoon, Morales said.
Investigators believe she was working with a male suspect in the thefts, but no additional information on him was available, according to Morales.
Anyone with information on Duncan’s whereabouts is asked to call sheriff’s dispatch at (831) 471-1121.
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