Po­lice warn Ce­cil res­i­dents to be aware of pack­age theft

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CARL HAMILTON

ELK­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— ‘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.

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