Sheriff’s office says to break down gift boxes or risk a home break-in

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- Break them down or get broken into: It’s a Boxing Day warning that could save you from some holiday misery.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office is warning about potential robberies where crooks are cruising through neighborhoods and looking for gift boxes on the curb to get an idea about what’s inside your house. The sheriff’s office says that days following Christmas are a perfect time for thieves to strike.

Post-Christmas trash pick-up was happening Friday with garbage trucks navigating through neighborhoods and emptying overflowing bins. One stopped at Steve Stone’s house.

"Everything I wanted. It was a nice, great holiday,” Stone said.

One of the gifts was a flat-screen TV, which was no secret considering the box the TV came in sat on the curb for everyone, including crooks, to see.

"Pretty nice, safe neighborhood really. Not too many worries about that," Stone said.

But the sheriff's office is warning against tossing boxes on the curb.

"You don't know who's driving up and down your street. Criminals could be driving by just to see what people got, what they have in their home. Basically you're advertising what you have in your house and you want to be sure not to make your house a target for criminals,” Deputy Claire Young said.

Dep. Young suggests breaking down boxes and putting them inside bins, and that's not all.

"Just being aware when your curtains are open, what people can see when they look into your house. And then also, with traffic coming in and going out with family and friends, just making sure the door stays locked, even when you're in the house,” Dep. Young said.

Stone says he's learned his lesson.

"I probably will break them down because if you think about it, someone could see it and realize what you got for Christmas. It's not a bad idea to break it down and hide it somehow,” he said.

You could take it a step further and turn the box inside out before putting it in your bin, or take it straight to a recycling site.