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Tossed Trash Could be Advertising to Thieves

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Police are warning all of us to be cautious after we unwrap all of our holiday gifts. How we unload the boxes those gifts came in could be an advertisement for potential thieves.

Police say thieves are scouring through bins that many households use -- recycling bins. But when you dump your big ticket items, it's like a flashing sign for thieves.

At one Overland Park home the window blinds are drawn, the doors locked.

"Our house has been broken into before," said Dylan McDonald.

McDonald and his family say they've learned to take precautions to hide what's inside their Overland Park home.

"We usually just keep everything somewhere in the house where no one can get to it.

But police say just because the thieves can't see in, doesn't mean they don't know what's sitting inside.

"They do their homework," said Lee's Summit Police Seargant Chris Depue. "They won't break into a house that doesn't have items to steal."

A play Station 3, waffle maker, shoes -- these are all boxes found in the families curbside recycling bin. It was a great Christmas for McDonald.

"Yeah, it was pretty good," he said.

It could also be a slam dunk for potential thieves.

"After Christmas, when those boxes hit the curb, you're also advertising information that, "Hey, a 60" TV was just delivered here,'" said Sgt. Depue.

Police suggest cutting up those boxes and turning them inside out.

"I see how that would be. I don't think anyone would just want to dig through the bin and stuff," said McDonald.

But burglars will, so it's not always fool-proof.

"If they see one of those packages they might be willing to do a burglary if they think those packages are high value," McDonald said.

But it's one move that could save a big holiday heartache.

"You usually come to neighborhoods like this to avoid stuff like that, but it still happens now and then," said McDonald.

You can even take it one step further and drop off your boxes to one of four metro recycling locations: Metro North Mall, UMKC, Bannister Mall and the Environmental Campus. That way no one will know what was recently delivered to your house.

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