Bandits Increasingly Swiping Boxes From Doorsteps

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A warning for online holiday shoppers: Thieves are zeroing in on deliveries left unattended on doorsteps.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, FedEx, UPS and U.S. Postal Service employees are being warned to be on the alert, that thieves might be following them and then grabbing packages from in front of homes.

As Christmas approaches, dozens of Long Island homeowners have been victimized in the past few days.

CBS 2 obtained surveillance video of a blond woman who police say is suspected in a flurry of recent Garden City thefts. She took off in a dark-color, four-door sedan.

“This woman was going from door to door looking for packages and just swiping them off the stoops,” said victim Gail Priest.

Multiple streets in Garden City were targeted where residents were at work and deliveries left unattended.

“A policeman stopped me, and apparently people are going around following the trucks because we are leaving them on the porches,” said FedEx driver Jon Gould. “We try to hide them if we can, but certainly better to get it signed for; that way, they know it’s in their hands.”

“It’s a tough economy,” said Ed Chairi, a UPS delivery driver. “They’re nervous. People don’t have money for gifts. They don’t have money for anything. They’ll take whatever they can.”

Police say homeowner diligence can ward off these crimes of opportunity.

“Very simple tips can help alleviate that,” said Nassau County Police Inspector Kenneth Lack. “Again, deliver it in the backyard, put it in the garage, keep it with a neighbor.”

Delivery instructions can be posted on front doors or sometimes when the order is placed.

It is safest, Lack said, to require a signature for a drop-off or pick it up at a warehouse or post office.

“When you order it online, just say that you prefer to pick it up at whatever distribution center it is,” suggested Garden City resident Stacy Dowd.

Nassau police are distributing pamphlets to residents saying, “If we can see it, so can thieves.”

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