'Tis the season for package thefts

Protect yourself from package delivery thieves

Author: Charles Gonzalez, Reporter, Anchor, cgonzalez@ksat.com
Published On: Nov 28 2012 05:48:21 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 28 2012 06:41:01 PM CST

MaryLou Diaz greeted the UPS delivery man almost as soon as he stopped his truck outside her home.

A victim too often, she said she wasn't about to let it happen again.

"Four times already," said Diaz, when asked how many packages she's had stolen over the last few years.

With millions of people placing online orders on Cyber Monday, many thieves are waiting for those packages to go to doorsteps. Diaz and other neighbors in the Colonies North subdivision near Loop 410 and Wurzbach are on high alert after an increase in thefts.

"It's pretty bad because if you want a Christmas present or a birthday present, that's why you buy something through the mail," Diaz said. "It doesn't get here so you've got to tell people, 'Sorry! You're not getting your present this time.'"

"I just woke up and I found a package from Walmart that my wife must have ordered so I brought that in," said Eddie Montalvo, who came out again after the UPS delivery man rang his doorbell. "I used to worry about people stealing mail but this is more of a temptation, I guess. Packages on the front porch are easy pickings for a thief."

"This is a crime of opportunity," added KSAT crime specialist Gilbert De La Portilla. "The criminal element is going to be walking through the neighborhood and if they see a package right away, they're just going to pick it up and go with it."

De La Portilla said the ways to protect yourself are simple.

"The best thing to do is have it delivered to somebody you know is going to be home, probably a parent or someone that's not working at this time and have it delivered to them and tell them it's going to be expected at their residence," said De La Portilla. "Pay attention to when they see a delivery truck and if they're good neighbors, if they know the neighbor's out, pick up the package and keep it at home until the neighbor is home and deliver it to them."

He also suggested asking employers if they allow personal packages delivered.

While FedEx and UPS officials said they don't keep specific data on packages that are reported stolen, they both said they offer a variety of delivery options including evening deliveries, holding packages at warehouses or following detailed delivery instructions.

"If a customer wants us to leave it behind a big plant or bush on their front porch, we can do that," said FedEx Express manager Shelly Gunn. "If they do want us to leave it behind the fence on top of the grill, we can reach over and leave it on top of the grill. Whatever the customer requests, if it's within reason, we can make it happen."

"I guess you have to figure out a better way to do it instead of leaving it on the porch where anybody can grab it," added Montalvo.