Package thefts hit Thornton neighborhood; how to keep it from happening to you

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THORNTON, Colo. -- A Thornton man captured a thief on surveillance video stealing a package from the doorstep of his home on Pecos Street.

This time of year, mail and package thefts rise as the holidays approach. Some people will follow delivery trucks and wait for them to drop off boxes so they can go in and snatch them up.

“Lady came out, walked up to the front door, picked up the box, stood there for about 20 seconds and then went to her truck and left,” said Michael Wastart of Thornton.

The theft at Wastart’s home happened just before noon on Nov. 18. The woman, who appears to be in her 40s or 50s, took off in a green GMC truck packed with scrap metal.

Neighbors told Wastart they have seen the woman trolling their community before.

“It’s either brave or stupid, or a combination of the two,” he said.

The U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and UPS offer services where they can hold package or have them delivered later in the day.

Some people are looking to profit off it, including Josh Greer. He created an app called Sunset Deliveries. It allows a person to have their package sent to the Sunset Deliveries warehouse. From there, the customer can decide an exact date and time they want their package delivered.

The delivery costs $5.

“Last year, I saw a gentleman who stayed home from work for an entire day just so he could get all of his packages in for Christmas. No one should have to take that step when there’s a service that can do that instead,” Greer said.

Sunset Deliveries is only available in the Denver metro area.

Advice from the USPS

  • Use the letter slots inside your Post Office for your mail, or hand it to a letter carrier.
  • Pick up your mail promptly after delivery. Don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight.
  • If you're expecting checks, credit cards or other negotiable items, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.
  • If you don't receive a check or other valuable mail you're expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.
  • If you change your address, immediately notify your Post Office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
  • Don’t send cash in the mail.
  • Tell your Post Office when you’ll be out of town so it can hold mail until you return.
  • Report all suspected mail theft to a postal inspector.
  • Consider starting a neighborhood watch program. By exchanging work and vacation schedules with trusted friends and neighbors, you can watch each other's mailboxes as well as homes.
  • Consult with your local postmaster for the most up-to-date regulations on mailboxes, including the availability of locked centralized or curbside mailboxes.

Advice from FedEx

While FedEx team members do their utmost to ensure the safety and security of every package they deliver, there are steps customers can take for added peace of mind.

  • Customize your deliveries. Use FedEx Delivery Manager to customize your residential deliveries.
  • You can change the time and location of delivery, request a signature upon delivery and even ask FedEx to hold your package if you know you’ll be out of the house when we try to deliver. Sign up for free online and avoid the risk of unattended packages sitting out on your doorstep.
  • Consider an alternate destination. When you order something online, consider sending the package to your workplace or to a family member, friend or neighbor who is home during the day to accept delivery. When you know someone will be available to receive your delivery, you eliminate the possibility of your specially ordered gift being left unattended.
  • Send it to your nearest FedEx Office location. You can have your deliveries sent to the nearest FedEx
    Office location and we’ll hold it for you for up to five business days. FedEx provides this service at no added cost. If it’s a FedEx Express® package, you can also send have your package sent to one of our FedEx Express stations. Find the location nearest you at fedex.com/locate.
  • Request a signature. Many packages today are sent without requiring a signature for delivery. If you’re shipping something of high value — or you just want to be sure items aren’t left unattended — you can require a signature for packages to be released. Either the shipper or the recipient can make this request.
  • Request a vacation hold. Taking a holiday trip to visit family or friends? You can request a vacation hold on all shipments for up to 14 days.
  • Redirect your packages even when they’re already on the way. With FedEx Delivery Manager, you’ll be alerted to every FedEx® package headed to your home, even if you don’t have the tracking number. If you know you won’t be home and want to send the delivery somewhere else, just redirect it to where you’ll be, or another secure location.
  • Ask for a ring. Use FedEx Delivery Manager to let your driver know you want a ring—or a knock. You can leave instructions for drivers to always ring your doorbell or knock on your door when a package is being left. Do you like your packages left behind the big planter, or tucked behind the grill beside the back door? Use FedEx Delivery Manager to leave one-time-only or standing instructions for where you want FedEx to leave your deliveries.
  • You can also let your driver know your instructions by calling 1.800.GoFedEx (1.800.463.3339).

Advice from UPS

UPS delivers 17 million packages around the world every day and much more during this time of the year. In fact, during December, we’ll be delivering some 585 million packages, with single-day volume surging as high as 34 million on our peak day Dec. 22. Incidents of package theft are rare. If customers have concerns about the security of their deliveries they have options:

  • They can have the shipment sent to where they are – not where they aren’t. In other words, if they are at work during the day they can have packages delivered to where they work. They can also choose to have things sent to a relative or neighbor who is home during the day.
  • They can tell our driver where they would like packages left, for example, in the shed in the back yard, or behind the garage, etc. Our drivers can enter that information into their handheld computers for future deliveries.
  • They can sign up for a free service called UPS My Choice, which sends a proactive email alert to the customer letting them know when their package is going to be delivered.
  • As far as what to do if a shipment is stolen, UPS will instruct the individual to file a police report. The customer may also wish to call the shipper to get a replacement item shipped.