Police warn Cecil residents to be aware of package theft
— ‘Tis the season to be vigilant — for anyone who orders merchandise on the internet for home delivery, according to the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office.
CCSO officials are cautioning Cecil County residents to take measures to safeguard packages scheduled for delivery to their homes, explaining that there is a significant spike in thefts of packages delivered to home doorsteps this time of year and that it correlates to the big rise in Christmasrelated package deliveries.
“Over the past couple of years, we have seen a dramatic increase in thefts of delivered packages from front porches, doorsteps and mailboxes during this time of year. More people are ordering stuff on the internet and there is a criminal element out there that will take advantage of it,” said Lt. Michael Holmes, a CCSO spokesman.
Police officials urge residents to track the movement of their ordered packages online, after placing an order, so they will know the day of delivery. Making inquiries of the parcel company handling the package might even help residents narrow down a timeframe in which the delivery will be made.
By tracking the delivery process, residents can be at home when the package arrives. Or, if being at home isn’t possible, a homeowner can arrange for a family member, friend or neighbor to be there to collect the delivered package.
“You don’t want the package sitting out too long after it is delivered,” Holmes said, explaining that the window of opportunity for a thief to steal a delivered package is quite narrow when a homeowner collects the package quickly.
Holmes also suggested that neighbors increase their level of vigilance during this time of year.
“If you see a suspicious person in your neighborhood or if you see subjects you don’t recognize sitting inside a parked vehicle for a long period of time, call the police and report the suspicious activity,” Holmes said.
In December 2015, two adult brothers stole more than 50 delivered packages from the doorsteps and porches of Elkton homes during a one-day spree before Elkton Police Department officers were able to nab them, police said.
The perpetrators had followed a delivery truck on its route and targeted homes where the packages had been dropped off, police added.
Investigators were helped by a homeowner’s security camera, which yielded video of the suspects, and by a resident who saw the brothers discard her package in a garbage bin, police reported.
Each brother pleaded guilty to a theft charge in March, as part of a plea agreement, according to Cecil County District Court records. They received sentences of 18 and 15 months, and both were ordered to serve two years of supervised probation, court records show.