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Christmas Package Thief Ordered to Jail

by on June 22, 2015 6:40 PM

An Altoona man is sentenced to jail for his role in a brazen series of pre-holiday thefts that targeted packages filled with Christmas presents.

On Monday, John Ball, 27, was ordered to serve 11 and a half to 23 months in the Centre County Correctional Facility.

Once he's released, Ball will be on probation for another five years. He also has to pay back his victims.

In March, Ball pleaded guilty to several charges including theft by unlawful taking and conspiracy.

According to prosecutors, Ball was part of a two-man team that targeted homes in Ferguson Township last November.

Ball and co-defendant Christopher Shutt, 36, stole numerous holiday packages that had been left on the victims' front porches.

According to court documents, Ferguson Township police received eight calls about stolen packages that totaled over $1,000 in value. The packages contained everything from clothing to appliances.

Police, on the lookout for suspicious activity, reportedly stopped a vehicle and found the two men inside, along with many of the missing items.

Police say they recovered stolen jeans, a humidifier, a dog toy, a coffeemaker, a romance novel, two children’s toys, boots and a bed set.

Ball reportedly told police that he was not aware they were stealing the packages. According to court documents, Ball claimed Shutt told him that he had purchased the packages, sent them to the houses of various relatives and was picking them up.

The Centre County District Attorney's Office says Shutt pleaded guilty to a total of 22 charges. He reportedly accepted blame for various thefts, conspiracy, and unrelated forgery and deception charges. He is now serving up to 12 years in state prison.


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Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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