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Porch thieves make off with $5,100 in medical supplies meant for Saskatoon boy with rare condition

A Saskatoon family is at a loss after thousands of dollars of medical bandages "essential" to their son's health were stolen from their porch on Tuesday.

The bandages were for Leo, who is almost two years old and has epidermolysis bullosa, a rare skin condition that causes his skin to break and blister at even the slightest bit of friction. The bandages are used to keep Leo "fully wrapped," which helps ensure his delicate skin stays safe.

"These are very specialized bandages that are very costly," said Crystal Leptich, Leo's mom. 

"They're pretty much the most crucial piece of our care regimen for Leo."

Leptich said the family was expecting and order of $5,100 worth of bandages, but arrived home to find only one box on the porch. When she checked her doorbell camera, she was "shocked" by what she saw. 

In seconds, two women approached what were five boxes and, one after the other, each grabbed an armful and left in a waiting van.

Leptich says she was saddened when she saw the video and worries the bandages, which are essential for her son, will be thrown in the trash. (Ashleigh Mattern/CBC)

"My mouth just dropped," Leptich said. "I just felt like I was in disbelief."

She said she couldn't believe someone would commit such a crime in broad daylight, noting she was also saddened that the items were medical supplies.

"Chances are, whoever opens those boxes is not going to see the worth of the bandages that are in there," she said. "So I just have this visualization of $5,000 worth of essential supplies getting thrown in the trash." 

She said the family does have the supplies they need to make sure Leo is safe for the time being, and that the bandage company is replacing the order.

Kelsie Fraser, a spokeswoman with the Saskatoon Police Service, said specific statistics on thefts from porches aren't kept. 

But, she says, "anecdotally, the risk of having packages stolen off your porch is increasing." 

A Saskatoon family shared video that shows two people taking packages from their home that contained bandages for their son's skin condition. 0:19

She said this is something people should be concerned about as we move into the holiday shopping season. 

Fraser said there are several ways people can protect themselves, including requesting a signature on the delivery, having the package sent to a post office or purchasing a secure package box. 

She said police are investigating the bandage theft and asking whoever took the packages to return them. 

"Finding the people that took them would also be a goal of ours as well," she said.

A video of the theft posted to Facebook has been shared online more than 4,000 times.

Adam and Crystal Leptich with their son Leo, who has the rare skin condition epidermolysis bullosa, which causes his skin to break and blister easily. (Trevor Bothorel/CBC)

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