Christmas was saved for many families in Maryland on Wednesday when police caught two people who they say went door to door stealing packages off doorsteps and stuffing them into a box truck.
On Thursday night, officers played Santa and returned more than 70 stolen packages.
"I think everybody's pretty excited about this, the fact that we were able to stop a couple grinches from ruining a holiday," Sgt. Perry Thorsvik said.
A Columbia, Maryland, resident called Howard County police about 4:50 p.m. Wednesday and said they saw a truck driving around, police said. Occupants were said to be moving boxes from residents' doorsteps into the truck.
Two officers heard the call and arrived in less than a minute to stop the truck in the area of Greystone Lane. The box truck was stuffed with packages, police said.
Ernest Ohanyan, 25, and Amjad Jaouni, 28, both of Baltimore, were arrested. Ohanyan posted $5,000 bond and was released. Jaouni still was being held. It wasn't immediately clear if they had attorneys.
Officers personally delivered some of the packages Thursday night.
"I called my wife, I said a package was supposed to be at the house at 2 p.m. yesterday," said one homeowner who was surprised when an officer showed up at his doorstep with the package Thursday.
Any packages that cannot be delivered will be available for pickup Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Northern District Station at 3410 Courthouse Drive in Ellicott City. Pickup also will be available Saturday, Dec. 10, from 9 a.m. to noon.
Residents should bring photo identification and/or proof of address in order to receive their packages. Any questions can be directed to 410-313-3200.
Police said the packages were stolen from Tamar Drive, Dry Barley Lane, Four Foot Trail, Fire Cloud Court, Sanctuary Court, Dark Hawk Circle, Black Star Circle, Dry Stone Gate, Roan Stallion Lane, Dawn Whistle Lane, Sea Light Lane, Summer Cloud Way, Saddle Drive, Oak Bush Terrace and Silver Trumpet Drive.
To avoid future package theft, police encourage residents to track their shipments and be home to receive them when they do arrive.
Otherwise, they should ask their neighbors to take their packages inside. Police also say to keep an eye out for suspicious people and vehicles and call 911 to report any suspicious behavior.