Acts of Kindness

Woman tracks down thief who stole packages from her home then serves him lesson in compassion

January 27th, 2020

Have you ever been the victim of a porch pirate? Actually seen the proof that someone invaded your private property and took something that clearly wasn’t meant for them?

This is what happened to Sabrina Schroeder and her response to the theft will likely shock a lot of people. Because for many of us, our first inclination when catching a thief wouldn’t be compassion. Which means this woman is a good example for us to follow.

How the Story Began

There are a lot of package deliveries at this time of year and due to a rise in porch pirating, many people have become more vigilant. Like Schroeder, a 32-year-old pediatric nurse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In an interview with WTHR 13, she explains,

“Monday night I had some packages being delivered and I saw they were marked ‘delivered’ and I went down to grab them and they weren’t there.”

Her next step was to go back inside and check the footage on her outdoor security cameras.

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WTHR 13 Source: WTHR 13

With the taillights of the retreating delivery truck still in the background, she sees the image of a man walking up to her door and taking her packages. Thanks to a timestamp on the recording, she knew the robbery had taken place just mere minutes earlier.

In a move I’m sure law enforcement wouldn’t recommend, she decided to get on her bike with her boyfriend and follow the man.

It wasn’t long before he was spotted in an alley not far from the main drag of her neighborhood.

Porch Pirate Confronted

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WTHR 13 Source: WTHR 13

Schroeder recalls that upon finding the man she,

“Kind of approached him and just said, ‘Hey, you grabbed my packages. I’d like them back now.'” She continues, “I could just see his face crumble a little bit and he said that he had thrown them in the bushes.”

The pirate, who we now know to be Cole, recalls thinking that he may as well confess at that point. Trying to lie his way out would do no good.

So he took Sabrina to the spot where he had tossed her packages. Apparently, he’d been looking for something he could sell for quick cash, and the contents of her packages didn’t fit the bill.

Sitting with Sabrina in a Starbucks in her Broad Ripple neighborhood, he admits,

“I knew it was stupid, the second I did it, but you know, if there’s a chance to eat, good sense goes out the window when you’re hungry.”

Schroeder Sees Beyond the Thief

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WTHR 13 Source: WTHR 13

Cole, who didn’t want to be further identified, said he’d been living on the streets for several weeks. He was addicted to drugs and his family has given up on him. He’s 34-years-old and has been reduced to nothing. He’s tried to find food and a place to sleep at local shelters, but they are too overcrowded.

So he’s been living under the Westfield Bridge in Broad Ripple. With only an old chair and not much more.

Reflecting back on the moment he took her to find her packages and only finding one of them, Sabrina says,

“I just had this moment of calm where I realized, it’s not about some makeup and a bathing suit. I could tell immediately that he was a good person and just made a bad decision. He didn’t have to walk back with me to where my packages were.”

She also told him there was more to him than his current circumstances and asked him to meet her the following day.

That following day when they met, they both had a package for each other. He had tracked down her missing package and she had a box of food, clothes, and baby wipes for him.

But she didn’t stop there. Sabrina and her friends pitched in and bought a bus ticket so Cole could get to California where friends of his have offered him a place to stay until he gets clean and back on his feet.

“It’s been such a huge blessing on my life,” Cole says. “She didn’t have to talk to me, but now that she did, there’s a new aspect to both of our lives and that’s not ever a bad thing usually.”

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Source: WTHR 13