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Sheriff’s Department warns of holiday package thieves

Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 5:00 pm

It’s the busiest time of the year for shipping packages and police departments across the country are putting out alerts warning consumers about package theft. (Getty Images)

It’s the busiest time of the year for shipping packages and police departments across the country are putting out alerts warning consumers about package theft. (Getty Images)

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — The employee’s at the Metro Moore County Sheriff Department want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and happy and safe New Year, but that wish also comes with a warning.

“This is the time of the year that everyone is buying gifts for their loved ones. We caution everyone about putting expensive items under your tree,” said Metro Moore County Sheriff Mark Logan, who suggested that people wait until the night before Christmas to place gifts under the tree. “Unfortunately thieves shop too.

“They like to shop at your residence. So with that, make sure your residence is locked and secure when you leave. Leave a light on or even leave a radio on that can be heard from outside. Sometimes that will stop someone from entering your home.”

As more people shop online for the holidays, authorities are warning residents to take precautions to make sure their packages won’t be stolen.

A recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) said more than 121 million shoppers got on the web to buy popular items at a discount on Cyber Monday. The NRF says more people shopped online this Thanksgiving holiday weekend compared to visiting physical stores, marking a significant shift in holiday retail shopping.

Officials with the U.S. Postal Service said deliverymen and women will be delivering more packages than ever before this holiday season. According to Theresa Doherty, who works with USPS corporate communications, Cyber Week deals have package deliveries at a record high this year.

Retailers recommend you set up alerts on your phone or have packages delivered to an Amazon locker or FedEx facility. FedEx says after placing an order, you can take the tracking number and go online to input preferences for delivery and time.

“We can tell that this is going to be the busiest year yet with the continued high demand. We know it’s definitely going to be in the millions and billions this year,” said Doherty.

That means more opportunities for crime and theft, but if you’re still online shopping, Doherty said there are a few things you should do to prevent your package from being stolen, like picking it up at a post office.

She said you can also use the USPS online portal to request that your package be dropped off when people are home or in a hidden spot outside of your house.

“If you order from the internet, ask your carriers not to leave package out in the open or on the mail box,” added Sheriff Logan. “You can make arrangement for a neighbor to receive your packages if needed. Thieves drive around all day just looking for items to take, so keep in mind they do shop also, it’s just different from the way most of us shop.

“If you see something suspicious let us know; call 931-759-7323.”

If you see a mail theft taking place or if your own mail has been stolen, Doherty says to report it to the U.S. Postal Inspectors by calling 1-877-876-2455.

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