Police warn res­i­dents about pack­age thieves

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Mar­ian Den­nis mden­nis@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mar­i­anDen­nis1 on Twit­ter

Penn­syl­va­nia State Police are warn­ing folks ahead of time that as the hol­i­days ap­proach, it’s Grinch sea­son.

Police sent out a bul­letin last week warn­ing res­i­dents about pack­age thieves and re­mind­ing everyone that the Christ­mas sea­son is a peak time for crim­i­nals.

“The United States Postal Ser­vice es­ti­mates that it will de­liver 630 mil­lion pack­ages be­tween Black Fri­day and New Year’s Day. The prob­lem is when pack­ages are de­liv­ered, it is usu­ally when no one is home, leav­ing the prover­bial win­dow wide open for crim­i­nals,” police said. “Thieves will of­ten fol­low UPS and FedEx trucks to homes, wait a few min­utes, and then ap­proach the house to steal the pack­age.”

An es­ti­mated 23 mil­lion Amer­i­cans have pack­ages stolen from their homes, and that num­ber is ex­pected to in­crease given the pop­u­lar­ity of on­line shop­ping.

Ac­cord­ing to police, steal­ing mail from the U.S. Postal Ser­vice is a fed­eral crime and car­ries a po­ten­tial five-year prison sen­tence and a $250,000 fine. How­ever, if pack­ages are stolen af­ter they are de­liv­ered from a pri­vate car­rier such as UPS or FedEx, it is con­sid­ered prop­erty theft.

Postal in­spec­tors make nearly 10,000 ar­rests each year, many for mail theft.

For tips on how to avoid pack­age thefts see state police’s rec­om­men­da­tions, be­low.

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