Hemet police return gifts to family after woman caught on video stealing packages from front porch

Local news
A photo released by the Hemet Police Department on Dec. 23, 2021 shows officers returning stolen packages to a family.

A photo released by the Hemet Police Department on Dec. 23, 2021 shows officers returning stolen packages to a family.

Packages containing gifts that were stolen from a Hemet family’s front porch were returned after police arrested two suspects, officials said Thursday.

On Wednesday, Hemet police saw a social media post appearing to show a woman stealing recently delivered packages near a front door in the city. The theft was captured on video and the images were shared in the post.

Hemet police investigators, as well as the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department then set off to identify the woman in the video and shared information with officers in the field.

About 8:40 p.m., detectives from a gang task force spotted a woman matching the suspect’s description in a truck near the 1600 block of San Jacinto Avenue in San Jacinto, police said.

The truck also matched the description of one seen on the doorbell camera video.

A record check of the truck’s license plate revealed it was reported stolen out of Moreno Valley, police said.

Authorities stopped the driver and detained a man and a woman inside, and she was confirmed to be the woman caught on video taking the packages, police said.

Officers found the stolen packages containing gifts for the victim’s children and returned them the same evening, just in time for Christmas.

The woman was identified as Tonia DeLeon, 36, of Winchester. She was arrested on suspicion of package theft and two felony warrants for fraud and post-release community supervision violations, police said.

The driver, 41-year-old Jose Rivas, also of Winchester, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a stolen vehicle and vehicle theft. He also had an outstanding felony warrant for a previous vehicle theft, police said.

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