Christmas thief caught on camera as holiday shopping season brings increase in package thefts

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Police have a warning for holiday shoppers – the shopping season often brings an increase in people stealing packages right off of front doorsteps.

This week on Indy’s northeast side, a FedEx driver dropped off an 85 pound box with a lawnmower inside on a driveway. The driver didn’t hide the package behind the fence and with the driveway easily visible from the road, it became an easy target for a thief.

“He may as well as put a sign on it that said free. He gave it away basically,” said theft victim Susan Brown.

Susan bought a self-propelled lawnmower online from Home Depot as a gift for her nephew. After the package got stolen, the company did reimburse the theft, but it’s still a frustrating crime.

“It’s very frustrating, but it wouldn’t have been stolen if he had done his job and brought it to my door at least,” said Brown.

In a different case on the city’s north side, surveillance video on Tuesday shows a delivery driver dropping off various Christmas presents and walking away.

About 90 minutes later, with the gifts still outside, a hooded thief snatched the entire bundle of sweaters and a coffee maker and ran away before loading the stolen loot into a waiting white car.

Those cases are two of the more than half dozen reports of packages being stolen IMPD has received this week alone.

“We do normally see an uptick this time of year,” said IMPD officer Michael Hewitt.

Because package thefts are especially common during the holidays, the IMPD recommends people request signatures so packages have to be handed over in person.

Homeowners can also ask trustworthy neighbors to watch for deliveries, have packages sent to an office if possible or leave special instructions for the delivery driver on where packages can be placed.

“It’s like any other crime of opportunity. The harder you make it for that criminal, the less likely you will be a victim of that crime,” said Hewitt.

Police say you can also track packages to make sure you know the exact moment they're delivered. That way they don't sit on the doorstep for too long.

The Wednesday after Thanksgiving is considered National Package Protection Day.

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