Online shoppers beware of package thieves this holiday season - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Online shoppers beware of package thieves this holiday season

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - It is the season for giving but for some it can be all about taking with thieves doing their Christmas shopping from others front porches.

Liz and Wayne Fitken are just one of the latest families to catch someone stealing packages ordered online right off their front porch.

“I was furious,” said Liz. “To see someone else come to your property, while you're out working for a living and just take what belongs to you. I was just outraged.”

“I catch the guy in the act of stealing the package a hour after it was dropped off,” said Wayne.

And in just seconds the thief was gone. Crimes like this are on the rise across the country this holiday season.

A home surveillance video shows a man leisurely strolling up the walkway of a home and then a moment later walking off with a package.

It took only 40 seconds for this bold thief to take off with someone else's package.

“It doesn't take long to pull up, get out of the car, take the packages and drive away,” said Toledo Police Lt. Phil Cook.

With UPS and Fed Ex expected to deliver more than 1.3 billion packages over the holiday period, up 10 percent from last year, police say you can expect the holiday bandits to be out on the hunt.

“There is much more opportunity this time of the year than the rest of the year,” said Lt. Cook.

He says this is a crime of opportunity for thieves and many of the stolen items end up being sold at pawn shops and even online. Cook says without knowing it, many homeowners create perfect conditions for thieves.

“Packages left on the front porch invite crime. It may also signal to a burglar that the house is unoccupied,” said Cook. “Have a trusted neighbor maybe pick up the packages for you if they are home, you can get them later, or you can require a signature on delivery so the packages won't be left on your porch.”

Police say you should also consider shipping your packages to your workplace and tracking your order, so you can know when to expect it.

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