Security cameras help solve a case of stolen fish in Poplar Bluf - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Security cameras help solve a case of stolen fish in Poplar Bluff

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Three hundreds dollars in tropical fish swiped from a front porch in Poplar Bluff, Mo. might have left authorities scratching their heads. Except, thanks to the homeowner's security cameras, the entire event was caught on tape and the suspects quickly booked.


But that's only part of this story. 

Add to the stolen fish and security cameras a Federal Express Delivery and drugs and you have what police call one very unusual crime of opportunity. 

Police say it all unfolded on Tuesday on 14th street. 

"The victim had a text message sent to him as soon as it was delivered since it was fish and it was cold outside," said Capt. David Sutton with the Poplar Bluff Police Department. "When a family member got there to pick it up the package wasn't there." 

Police were called in quickly and, thanks to the security cameras, were able to swiftly pay a call to the suspects next door. 

"The quality of those cameras has improved quite a bit. Sometimes they deter crime, in this case it helped us solve it," said Capt. Sutton. 

In the video, you see the Federal Express truck pull up and the driver put the shipment on the porch on 14th street. 

According to the victim, the box contained several tropical fish worth nearly $300. 

Just after the package is delivered, the video shows activity at the house next door. Soon after the suspect, in a hooded sweat shirt, walks right over in the daylight and lifts the box. 

Police guess the suspects weren't happy about what they found inside. In fact, the two neighbors admitted taking the fish and flushing them.

That's about the same time police spotted spotted marijuana and other drug items, making this an even bigger bust caught on camera.  

"Without the video we most certainly wouldn't have caught them or caught them so quickly," said Capt. Sutton. "The cameras are a good investment and helps us out quite a bit a lot of times it will deter crime, In this situation it didn't stop the crime but did help us catch the suspects quickly after the fact."  

Eric Haynes and Steve Zuniga face felony theft charges of stealing animals and tampering with evidence. Zuniga was also booked on drug possession charges. 

As for advice to home owners, Capt. Sutton said police see cases go up when the packages are left on the porch in broad daylight. 

"It's simply a crime of opportunity," said Capt. Sutton. ''It's always best to be there if you can or have someone there if possible to pick up what you've ordered. So many people are ordering things online. Otherwise, we recommend having the text message alert sent. That also helped in the quick discovery that the package was missing and so we could get it on it fast." 

Copyright 2015 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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