Police Warn of Holiday Shipment Thefts

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Packages delivered to and stolen from an empty front porch - police say it's an increasingly common crime during the holiday season, but there are things you can do to prevent becoming a victim of theft.

More than 19 million shipments were made on Monday through Federal Express Soon those packages will be showing up on empty doorsteps, and in some cases the thieves will be ready and waiting to take them.

"Anything left unattended a thief is going to want to go after," said Sgt. Chris Depue of the Lee's Summit Police Department.

It happened in Indianapolis, where a man was caught on video walking up to the door of a home. The man grabbed an unattended package, shoved it under his shirt and walked away.

It was also caught on camera in St. Louis.  A man following a delivery driver stole the package off the porch just seconds after it was left.

"If you didn't take precautions. It would be easy to drive through a neighborhood and see those packages on the front door," said Depue.

So FOX 4 wanted to see how easy it would be in the metro. After driving around for less than 10 minutes, we found a postal truck delivering mail and it wasn't long before we found one of those unatteded packages.

Just two block away, a mere seconds from where the mail carrier was delivering, we spotted this package in plane view of the street. Police say it would take maybe 5-10 seconds to grab the package and get away.

"They wont break into a house that doesn't have items to steal and so yeah they do their homework. And they are constantly checking you, you've got to turn that around and you've got to work with your neighbors to check your own house and keep your eyes out," said Depue.

Police say the best policy is to never allow a package to be delivered to an empty house.

"No one knows your neighborhood better than the people who live around you. So if you have that person you trust in your neighborhood, they are the best ones to keep on eye on your residence, pets, lights," Depue said.

There are many shipping options to help you avoid being a target. Police say ship your packages to someone who is always home, a trusted neighbor, friend or family member or even to your place of work. You can also require a signature for delivery - it may cost a little more, or depending on the value of what's inside the box, it may save you a lot of money and trouble.

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