A Washington state homeowner, Lizeth Ababneh, fell victim to an opportunistic crime in early 2018. Thankfully, though, the canny woman had a CCTV camera installed, which captured the whole incident. But when Ababneh later watched the footage back, she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Lizeth Ababneh lives with her husband in Snohomish County, Washington. The couple own a house in the Bothell area, a part of town that has its fair share of problems when it comes to crime. In fact, Bothell residents have a one in 37 chance of falling victim to various types of theft.
Sadly, in January 2018, Ababneh and her husband became one of those statistics after some items were stolen from their front porch. Luckily, the whole episode was caught on the couple’s CCTV, but the camera captured a little more than they had expected. In fact, what happened was so remarkable that the surveillance footage subsequently went viral.
It all started when a UPS delivery driver dropped off a few packages outside the couple’s home. Security-conscious Ababneh had gone to the trouble of setting up text alerts with UPS so that she would be informed when a delivery was taking place. But sadly, as she was soon to find out, there’s always a risk to your belongings.
And this is something that Ababneh learned the hard way. The packages themselves arrived at the couple’s doorstep safely. But later that same day, the woman’s CCTV picked up another figure approaching the house. It seems this person, however, had bad intentions.
The CCTV footage shows a woman walking towards Ababneh’s front door. But she isn’t there to visit. Instead, she’s there to take the packages left on the front porch. The woman, dressed in a gray sweatshirt and black pants, brazenly snatches the boxes and turns to leave.
But as she does, something shocking happens. Clutching the stolen cartons, the woman starts heading towards a car waiting in the street. But on the way she slips in the most dramatic of fashions. And it’s this sensational fall that made the video go so viral.
You see, to reach the getaway car, the woman needed to traverse Ababneh’s front lawn. However, it seems the thief underestimated the terrain. The grass was wet that day, so when the woman scampered across it with the boxes, she slipped and fell down backwards. And the stolen packages were sent flying, too.
But the thief didn’t get back up straight away. The CCTV footage shows her sitting on the grass, trying to get back on her feet, but it’s clear that she has done some serious damage to herself in the fall. In fact, from her struggles, it appears that she has suffered a bad ankle or leg injury.
Moreover, it’s at this moment that her male accomplice appears. Having presumably seen from the car that his partner is struggling to get up, he goes to help her out. And it proves no easy task. In fact, in the end, he has to lift her into his arms and walk her back to the car, leaving the packages lying on the grass.
But the packages don’t stay there long. You’d think that the thieves might cut their losses at this point, but sure enough, the man comes back for the goods that are scattered across the lawn. Finally, after he whisks them away, the two suspected thieves zoom off in the car.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for the footage to go viral. After all, even the homeowner found it a pretty “comical” scenario. And people couldn’t get enough of the video, which, to many, was the perfect example of karma working its mysterious magic.
However, although the footage was shared online, the alleged thieves weren’t caught immediately. That is, until police found them at a motel where they’d presumably been trying to lie low. Subsequently, the couple were both arrested on suspicion of stealing Ababneh’s packages.
The woman involved turned out to be a 37-year-old homeless woman on disability benefits named Alicia Treat. The man in the getaway car, meanwhile, was identified as Brian Devere. He was 39 years old and had a long list of criminal convictions.
Moreover, these included multiple thefts and burglaries. However, when Treat and Devere appeared in court in connection with the theft, both defendants pleaded not guilty. Interestingly, although Treat declared her innocence, she turned up to her arraignment in a wheelchair.
Furthermore, when Ababneh spoke to Komo News about the incident, she said that the two defendants “don’t have feelings,” before adding that “they only think about themselves.” What made the incident even worse, meanwhile, is that one of the packages contained some medicine meant for Ababneh’s husband.
What’s more, there were unfortunate financial implications for the homeowners, as their insurance didn’t cover the whole cost of replacing the meds. Indeed, Ababneh claimed that the contents of the boxes had a value of over $5,000.
Meanwhile, fellow Bothell resident Jack Halter had plenty to say about the crime. “I’m sorry that [Treat] got hurt, but I’m also pleased that they got caught,” he told Komo News in February 2018. Halter also summed up what happened to Treat perfectly. It was “great karma,” he said.
However, Halter also recognized that sometimes people do crazy things when they really need to. “She could be on desperate times,” he conceded, but for him, that wasn’t enough of a reason. “Nothing is an excuse for invading other people’s privacy and property,” he said. And lots of people online agreed.
“Love it. That’ll teach her,” wrote one Daily Mail reader, while another slightly more sadistic person commented, “Love those happy endings.” Meanwhile, speaking to Inside Edition Ababneh herself had a direct message for the injured woman. “That’s what you deserve, girl!” she said. Let’s hope that the video acts as a warning to all opportunistic thieves out there.