Courtesy Howard County Police
The stolen goods, Courtesy Howard County Police

Howard County police officers are working double-time this holiday season, saving packages from thieves driving through Columbia and playing Santa by delivering them back to their rightful owners.

The department said this afternoon that they arrested two men last night from Baltimore who allegedly drove a box truck around a neighborhood and stole 77 packages from residents’ homes. A resident spotted all of this happening just before 5 p.m. yesterday and called 911. Luckily, three community resource officers heard the call go out on the police radio and responded promptly, stopping the truck within minutes.

Inside, they found the six-dozen or so packages lifted from homes scattered around 15 different streets in Columbia. They arrested Ernest Ohanyan, 25, and Amjad Jaouni, 28, both of Baltimore.

In a gesture that shows their holiday spirit, officers are out today trying to hand-deliver all of the packages to their owners. Residents who don’t get them by the end of the day can pick them up from Monday through Friday during business hours and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., according to police.

The Grinch-like thefts should serve as a reminder to us all that not everyone has the right amount of giving spirit during the holidays. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to request that the delivery service have someone sign for the order, or even just to ask a neighbor to secure the package until you get home.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...