West Seattle Crime Watch: Another doorstep package theft

This West Seattle Crime Watch reader report carries a warning that sadly needs to be repeated this time of year. From Kaela:

Just want to let people know that a package was stolen from my doorstep this afternoon, so be careful sending/receiving gifts and keep an eye out for your neighbors. I live in a townhouse on California just south of Morgan Junction. While I was at work, my neighbor saw a car with three women in it following a UPS truck. After the UPS driver dropped off my package, my neighbor saw a woman get out of the car, grab the package, and drive off, so called the police. The police found the car, which was apparently stolen, just down the street at the Subway across the street from Thriftway.

There was just one woman in the car, the other two were gone.

The policeman said my package full of wrapped Christmas presents was torn through and the car was so full of junk they couldn’t tell what had been in my package or not, so he had me call my Aunt who sent the presents to report what was in it to identify the evidence. I can eventually get the presents, but for now they have to be processed as evidence. Not sure what will happen to the woman they found in the car. The policeman said this is a huge problem this year in West Seattle and there have been a lot of these reports lately, much more so than last holiday season. I saw a segment on the news just last week about thieves following delivery trucks. Thank you to watchful neighbors and diligent police.

Previous package-theft reports have yielded some theft-prevention advice from commenters, such as this one, and this more-recent one.

27 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Another doorstep package theft"

  • Junebug December 19, 2011 (8:55 pm)

    I left a bright pink note written in Sharpie on my front screen door saying “Please do not leave packages in front of the door. Place package on my chairs to the side of the door.” When I came home, two packages were stacked up, right in front of the door, under the note. Luckily, the packages were still there. But, leaving a note for the delivery person was not effective.

  • orca December 19, 2011 (9:00 pm)

    I walked about 14 miles today from Alki to White Center and circled back.
    I noticed quite a number of packages on front porches along the way. They were all quite obvious from the sidewalk.
    I was surprised to see all of them after the publicity last year.
    I would think that the boogers could just drive around and look and not have to follow the delivery trucks. We will probably hear a lot of this problem.

  • Momof3 December 19, 2011 (10:04 pm)

    Nice walking, Orca. I see packages out all the time in plain view too.

  • brizone December 19, 2011 (10:16 pm)

    The delivery drivers don’t care, they fairly fling the boxes off the truck and move on to the next one…

  • Curious homeowner December 19, 2011 (10:21 pm)

    Does anyone know if UPS or FedEx have talked to their drivers about keeping an eye for tails? I know they have a huge number of packages to drop off but an open eye might catch some of these people before hand.

  • toddinwestwood December 19, 2011 (10:27 pm)

    I still remember when the UPS person would leave a note saying they would try again at a later date or you could go down and pick it up at UPS headquarters.

    hoo hum,

  • Eric December 19, 2011 (10:32 pm)

    Good to see that at least one of the women got busted. I don’t think that she will get more than a slap on the wrist for posession but perhaps if she gets 20 more arrests, she may see some jail time.

  • Casey December 19, 2011 (10:39 pm)

    I’m not sure about other neighborhoods but I know in mine we always have the same driver for both UPS and USPS and we have a good relationship with them, they would happily remember to “hide” our boxes for us if we asked..that might be the best thing to do because I’m sure a lot of the drivers only care about their paycheck unless theres something else to incentivize them to keep a lookout.

  • AIDM December 19, 2011 (11:48 pm)

    Nice that they caught her. I had two packages stolen last Tuesday on the 5900 block of 35th. Didn’t see the person but they were delivered at 3:55 and were gone when we got home at 4:10, so someone was clearly following the UPS truck. I will check in with the police about recovering our stuff if it is the same person.

    There are probably only 2-3 UPS trucks working in West Seattle on a given day, so why can’t the police set up a sting and follow the trucks in an undercover car if they know it is a problem?

  • xena December 20, 2011 (12:23 am)

    UPS and FedEx drivers are incredibly busy this time of year due to the volume of packages. Why place the responsibility on them to “hide your packages”? Take responsibility yourself by getting packages sent to PO Box, drop box, work, or when ordering request the signature service so that they won’t deliver without your signature. I believe there was an article a week or two ago that detailed stategies to avoid package theft.

  • sophista-tiki December 20, 2011 (4:14 am)

    two words people. BOOBY TRAPS!

  • CandrewB December 20, 2011 (6:03 am)

    Picking up packages at UPS or FedEx in Sodo is a form of Hell.

  • Magpie December 20, 2011 (7:46 am)

    Fed ex doesn’t deliver to PO Boxes and Amazon uses a company called Ontrac, who hassle you to death if you have a package stolen. I can’t receive personal packages at work.

    I had a package stolen on the 30th of November and I am in the Charlestown area. It was very small and my yard is way back from the street. You have to actually have a reason to go up to my door (lazy trick or treaters don’t even come up the walkway) The only thing that was different that day was that my yard was littered with Casa Latina flyers.

    I hope whomever stole it enjoyed my blu-ray of It’s a Wonderful Life..I decided to find the irony in it. I have lived in my house for over 20 years and this year is the first time ever I have had a package stolen and this was my second one.

  • TMQ December 20, 2011 (8:11 am)

    USPS carrier went to great lengths to cover a package he delivered by putting it under our large doormat. I was at home but was impressed with the effort.

  • newnative December 20, 2011 (8:35 am)

    This year I had my mom send Xmas box to work. I am lucky I haven’t had anything stolen but I don’t want to test that. Paying for or requiring confirmation doesn’t help. USPS just leaves it there on the doorstep.

  • Amanda December 20, 2011 (9:32 am)

    You can require a signature, if UPS / FedEx / USPS deliver the package without that signature – they are liable for what happens.

  • newnative December 20, 2011 (12:26 pm)

    My point was that none of those confirmation requests were honored.

  • happened here December 20, 2011 (1:22 pm)

    This happened to me earlier this year – we had 2 different deliveries stolen from the front door of our apartment building on California between Admiral and Alaska. One was an new iPhone, shipped via UPS. Sprint shipped a replacement (to my office this time) with no hassles.

    Sprint must have filed a claim with UPS because last night I got a call from UPS asking whether we had ultimately received the missing package or whether Sprint had supplied a replacement (no and yes, respectively.)

    I mentioned to the UPS investigator that several other people in our building had posted notes on our bulletin board about missing UPS packages over the last couple of months. I gently suggested that the drivers should not be leaving unattended packages outside our entry doors given the apparently known theft issue. I hope they’re taking this under consideration.

  • orca December 20, 2011 (2:27 pm)

    I am not sure there is a simple answer. Requiring a signature also requires that you be home to sign or go to the UPS/FedEx hell and pick up the package.
    It is pretty obvious that the packages are being left at homes where the people are working during the day and can’t be there to sign either.
    Not an easy problem to solve…except I am seeing the packages just looming out on the porches. Watched a couple delivered and it seems that the drivers now have a helper (Christmas time) to run the packages up to the porches and just drop them there and run back. The inexperienced helpers add to the problem. However, I am amazed that UPS and FedEx are not taking some type of action to alleviate the thefts.

  • KD December 20, 2011 (3:35 pm)

    Sounds like time for some responsible citizens (not Rambo-ites) to follow delivery trucks that have a persistent car following them, and from a safe ‘non-suspicious’ distance have pen,paper,video/camera and your cell phone (and gas in your tank!) all ready when said vehicle’s occupant(s) start porch grabbing and dashing and call it in. Hopefully SPD dispatch won’t hassle you and pleasantly believe and thankyou. Don’t approach anyone, just get visual proof and a positive car make and license #, and call in quickly. That would be awesome also if all the delivery folks (although I know they are crammed this time of year) suspects what’s going on and call with a suspicious-person call. Good luck to anyone who has the time and gas money to do a ‘safe’ citizen patrol.(any retired SPD,DOC,etc. out there missing the good ‘ol days?)

  • Duke December 20, 2011 (4:36 pm)

    I’ve spoken with UPS several times on the matter of “signature required not being honored” including when I specifically instructed them to NOT wait for signature. Here’s what I know:

    1: It is purely up to the UPS driver whether or not to request a signature upon delivery. If it is in an apartment complex without secure access to the building, they are required by their policies to request signature EVERY time. This especially bothered me on those moments that it would be impossible to be available to sign for, and they won’t allow re-direction by the receiving party to a different address.

    2: To have a package re-directed to a different address, the original shipper must put in a formal request, else the best you can do is have them hold it for you at the local sorting facility.

  • arborheightsmama December 20, 2011 (8:23 pm)

    My husband is a UPS package car driver. During the holiday season, most drivers have a helper with them to deliver packages. The helper delivers packages where no signature is required and is instructed to hide them to the best of their ability, while the actual driver deals with packages that require signatures. They’ll typically try to place boxes behind porches, furniture, tables, whatever it is to hide them from street view. If you’re going to order something or expecting a package and are afraid of street lurkers, it is YOUR responsibility to receive it. This is why you are able to look up tracking information online.

  • Bye bye big bird December 20, 2011 (8:52 pm)

    I live off 47th and othello. My amazon package states it was delivered and signed for by my “neighbor”. However nobody in my area has that last name. I was at home however the USPS NEVER knocked at my door just gave it to the “neighbor.” @ WSB should let SPD know? I hope they enjoy their plush big bird and wine glasses.

    • WSB December 20, 2011 (11:46 pm)

      Oh, Bye Bye, that’s awful. Yes, report all thefts, please.

  • Kaela December 21, 2011 (10:39 am)

    Recently I was waiting for a certified letter that had a check in it. USPS said they tried to deliver it and left a come-pick-it-up slip. Was home all day that day, no knock on the door, no slip was left. Went into the post office, they couldn’t find it anywhere, took a week for it to show up in in a postal worker’s drawer. Can’t seem to win!

  • Tim December 23, 2011 (9:47 pm)

    A friend from work who lives in West Seattle had a Fedex package stolen from her porch. She decided to take matters into her own hands. She got another empty Fedex box and filled it with packing peanuts, cat poop from the litter box and dirty baby diapers filled with, well, you know… She also put a not so nice note in the box for the new recipients. She said that she put it on her step and within 20 minutes it was missing. Ingenious. I can only hope the thieves got a big handful of it all before realizing what it was.

  • really? December 24, 2011 (9:00 am)

    until they retaliate because….they know where she lives.

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