This child was instructed to steal package from porch, say Maryland police
An anonymous tip identified a little girl caught on video stealing a package from a Maryland porch — and now police are on the lookout for her father, who’s accused of making her do it.
Deputies charged Gary Martin Smith, a 46-year-old Abingdon man, with burglary, theft, conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor on Friday, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday. Smith made his 5-year-old daughter steal a package from the porch of a home in Bel Air on Nov. 30, the sheriff’s office said.
After the sheriff’s office posted video of the theft to their Facebook page on Dec. 7, someone called in a tip that helped deputies identify the little girl, and to point to her father as the suspect, deputies said.
The theft of the package, which contained a pair of boots, was reported on Dec. 2, deputies said.
“A warrant has been issued for Smith’s arrest,” deputies wrote on Facebook. “Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts, is asked to call the Harford County Sheriff’s Office.”
Vallan Hardison checked the home’s security camera footage after realizing the package had disappeared from her porch, WJZ reported.
“Definitely shocked that it was such a small child coming up to my front door and running away with my package,” Hardison told the TV station. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I couldn’t believe it.”
Police called the father a “Grinch” in their original Facebook post about the incident.
“Watch as this young girl, no older than 8, runs into a yard, looks back to get directions, then steals a package from a porch!” deputies wrote. “Who uses a child in this manner?”
Even before the father was charged, officers said it was clear the girl was being forced to steal.
“It is painfully obvious that someone is directing them,” Major William Davis of the sheriff’s office told WJZ, noting that the girl looked “hesitant to do it.”
The sheriff said he felt sorry for the child.
“It’s heart-breaking enough to know that people to turn to a life of crime, but when you see them raising their children into a life of crime, there are some serious issues with our society,” Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Hardison said she hopes she’s the last person who’s the victim of this kind of package theft.
“An apology would be nice,” Hardison told Fox 6 earlier this month. “Hopefully this doesn’t happen to any more people.”