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Thieves target delivery packages on doorsteps

December 3, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Beware of grinches looking to steal Christmas right off your doorstep. Thieves are following package delivery trucks, then making off with the parcels. Find out ways that you can outsmart the crooks. Postal employee Michael Vanoni makes his rounds delivering several packages during the day. He waits for the homeowner to open the door and then hand it over in person. Extra precautions are being taken to make sure that packages are not stolen.

"Because it has happened, we're not allowed to just leave them anymore, which is why we leave the little notice and then they come and pick it up at our office," explained Vanoni.

The U.S. Postal Service, as well as FedEx and UPS, are on alert after several incidents in Simi Valley of packages being stolen from people's doorsteps. There doesn't seem to be any pattern to these robberies. The complaints are coming in from all over the city. They appears to be crimes of opportunity.

"Delivery drivers, UPS, FedEx, the Post Office will deliver packages to somebody's porch or front door and a little while later somebody comes by and steals it," said Simi Valley Police Sgt. Adam Darough.

It's not hard to see even small parcels from the street. It also tells thieves the residents aren't home. Similar crimes have become apparent over the years as the holidays come closer.

"Especially at this time of year because they know it's going on," said Vanoni. "They'll watch for it and they'll just follow you around and do that sort of thing."

"It seems to happen seasonally and with the economy, it's probably happening a little bit more," said Darough. "We've had at least five that we've known of so far but a lot of times people don't realize when their packages are getting delivered and so these theft reports are going to come in later."

That's why the police department is asking people to track their packages online and to be aware of when they are going to be delivered. It might also be safer to have these packages sent to your work or somewhere other than your home.

"What we're asking to help us is if you could have packages or your parcels delivered to a place where you know someone is going to be there, somebody can sign for it or tell your neighbors to watch out for your resident and things like that. If we can keep an eye on each other, it probably won't occur as much," said Darough.

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