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Grinch thwarted by Youngstown officer's kind heart

A Grinch's theft and an officer's act of kindness are all caught on camera

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) - A Youngstown police officer’s random act of kindness was caught on surveillance video, but it wasn’t the first images to be recorded. A Grinch was caught on camera, first.

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Brian Koeppen shared the images he captured on surveillance cameras he installed around his house on Bellfield Avenue. They show a man in a ball cap and dark jacket stealing a package off of Koeppen’s front stoop, just minutes after it was delivered.

“I couldn’t believe it. He just nonchalantly walked down the street and whoop! – right off the porch with it. He had a big smile on his face and everything like that. Our cameras caught everything,” Koeppen said.

The stolen package was a Christmas toy for Koeppen's five-year-old son. Youngstown Police Officer Joe Wess was sent to take the theft report.

“Theft is one of my pet peeves. People work hard for what they have and when someone just comes up and takes it, that doesn’t sit well with me,” Wess said.

After taking the report, Wess went shopping until he found that same toy that was stolen and delivered it to the Koeppens. Those same surveillance cameras caught that, too.

“It made me feel good that I could help him and make light of a bad situation for him,” Wess said.

Koeppen expressed his gratitude to Officer Wess for considering his family and then going out of his way to make the situation so much better.

“We really thank you, Joe Wess. Thank you, officer. It is very kind of you to do that, sir,” Koeppen said.

Wess, who was recognized this week by his colleagues for helping save another man's life last spring, says he was just doing the right thing.

“He asked me how he could repay me, and I just told him to pay it forward to someone else,” Wess said.

While police are now looking for that Grinch who tried to steal Christmas, it may have been a local guardian who saved the holiday for this South Side family.

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