Packages left on porches an invitation for theft

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Warren — A man who was caught on surveillance video stealing a package from a porch had his image captured a second time this week — in a mugshot.

After the video aired during a television news report showing a man in a long red beard swiping the package from the porch of a home on Wellington Street, the suspect’s boss recognized him and turned him in, Warren Police Commissioner Jere Green said.

“The guy worked in a shop; his boss saw the video on TV and called the police,” Green said. “We went to his place of business and arrested him.”

The victim told WXYZ-TV the package, which was stolen at about 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, contained an X-Box he planned to give as a gift.

Delivery companies say this time of year the number of stolen packages increases, with thieves following around trucks, ready to sprint to porches and pick up the merchandise.

WJBK Fox 2 reported a similar theft from a porch in Wayne last week, moments after a UPS driver dropped off what was to be a Christmas present for the victim’s daughter.

Green questioned why delivery companies, such as UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service, drop off packages on porches, particularly during the holidays.

“It just doesn’t seem like a good way to do business,” he said. “I’ve had them leave a note telling me to pick up my package at the UPS office, but sometimes they just leave packages on the porch. That’s like an invitation to criminals.”

Green also warned of another crime that’s ramping up during the holidays: thefts involving Craigslist sales.

He invited anyone making a transaction from an online sale to meet in the police department.

“Over and over, we see these robberies when people use Craigslist; we just had one the other day where they met in the parking lot, and the guy was robbed,” Green said.

“It’s crazy to meet an unknown person in the parking lot at 6:30 at night,” he said. “You’re setting yourself up to be a victim. If you’re going to do a transaction on Craigslist, do it in the lobby of the police station.”

(313) 222-2134

Tips for keeping packages safe

■Consider an alternate destination

■Send it to your nearest FedEX or UPS location

■Request a signature

■Request a ring or knock

■Schedule your delivery