Police Make Special Deliveries After Arresting Alleged Package Thief

Police returned packages to their intended recipients on 73rd Street after an arrest last week. Via 20th precinct.

Police came upon a strange scene on 84th Street last week that led to an arrest and the return of packages to a building 11 blocks away. Capt. Timothy Malin of the 20th precinct explained how it all went down in a Facebook post.

We have some truly excellent police work to report on. This evening (Thursday 11/15) at approximately 7:PM, our Neighborhood Policing Sergeant, Will Rivera, was driving across 84th Street with Officers Darnell Jones, Rob Vasquez, and Cliff Jean. Sgt. Rivera saw a man on the sidewalk in front of 145 W 84th Street rapidly opening packages with a screwdriver, and stopped to investigate. He immediately noticed that the packages were all addressed to different recipients who live in the same building – 115 West 73rd Street – and detained the suspected thief. They went to the building on 73rd Street and reviewed the security footage.

Sure enough, video showed the man they stopped in the street attempting to break into the front door of the building, hiding in a stairwell, watching and waiting for the mailman to leave, and then stealing the packages (A snippet of that video is posted below, in the comments). That man, 56 year old James Willis, is now facing multiple criminal charges including Burglary. Also, as it turns out, he has a violent past, was recently released from prison, and is on parole… We hope to be sending him back to prison soon enough. As you can see from the below pictures, Sgt. Rivera, Officer Vasquez, and Officer Jones had the pleasure of delivering the stolen items to their intended recipients, who were surprised, thankful, and delighted to be getting package delivery from some of New York’s Finest.

There was one package we could not deliver personally… A children’s book that was being sent to a baby from the infant’s Grandmother in another state. The occupants of that apartment were not home at the time. We’d like to thank the superintendent of the building for an assist, because in addition to helping us recover video evidence, he contacted the parents of the child, informed them of the incident, and got their permission to leave the gift from Grandma in their apartment.

So, earlier this evening, Sergeant Rivera and his team of 20th Precinct Neighborhood Coordination Officers were able to arrest a burglar and return ALL of the property he stole to the rightful owners. There was a lot of work that went into this arrest, but seeing the smiles on the faces of these residents, and imagining the infant’s smile when Mom and Dad read a book from Grandma, make all of the hard work worth it.


NEWS | 14 comments | permalink
    1. Bruce E. Bernstein says:

      CAPT Malin and his officers are doing a great job on police / community relations, as well as on crime. PROPS!

      “Community Policing” at work.

    2. UWSHebrew says:

      Thank you NYPD for being so aware and stopping someone suspected of illegal activity. Stolen packages from buildings on the UWS is rampant and it’s good to see someone caught for this crime.

    3. Susan Xenarios says:

      Fantastic police work!! Love you 20th pct!!

    4. Nancy G says:

      Thank you sooo much, Precinct 20. You saw something suspicious and investigated. So pleased you found the criminal and took him off the street. Very glad the packages went to the right people.,..a true Thanksgiving Tale

    5. Jo Baldwin says:

      See, these are the guys you know we know we can depend on. Happy Thanksgiving 2-0!

    6. Rita says:

      Great work đź‘Ť

    7. Susan Kagan says:

      What a wonderful outcome to that story

    8. Sharon S says:

      Thank you 20th precinct. That’s my next door neighbor

    9. Linda Jawitz says:

      Big kudos to our hero police who work hard to keep our neighborhood safe. Thanks to all.
      Happy, healthy and safe holiday season.
      Much Love, Linda Jawitz

    10. Jen says:

      Excellent police work!
      Kind of disturbing that this person who has criminal violent past was hiding in the building. Who know what could have happened.

    11. lynn says:

      I’m on 72nd and I’ve had 3 packages ‘gone missing’ in the last couple of weeks. I got absolutely nowhere with the post office and had to file claims with my credit card company. It never occurred to me that someone might be coming in from outside to do this.

    12. Anne says:

      Thank you! We’ve definitely been seeing some sketchy people on this street in the last year. That’s one fewer we have to worry about.

      It was also so kind of the officers to hand deliver the packages after recovering them. Nice to see some good news for a change.

    13. Kim says:

      Thanks to the NYPD!! We are the family who was out of town and it is so wonderful that Grandma’s gift was safe and sound. Also, a big thanks to our amazing Super who is always dedicated to the safety of our building and has our best interest at heart.

      • Capt. Malin says:

        We were particularly moved and angered when we saw the childrens’ book among the stolen property. That somebody tried to make a victim of your child does not sit well with us at the 20th Precinct, and we would like see if we can help put a smile on everybody’s face. The “Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Blow-Up” takes place on Wednesday Afternoon around the Museum of Natural History, and we would like to extend an invite for you and your family to be our VIPs for a tour of the balloons. Feel free to contact me at Timothy.Malin@NYPD.org if you would like to join us. All the Best,
        -Capt. Malin