Several UPS packages stolen from stoops, porches in Minneapolis

Stolen packages from a stoop or front porch are usually a big deal around the holidays when those gifts start arriving, but Minneapolis police have found it to be an issue even in the heart of summer.

Minneapolis police are warning the public that sometimes the thieves can make off with more than just your latest amazon order.

Vonn Taylor has spent the last 6 months walking different mail routes for the U.S. Postal Service.  If he is delivering a package and no one’s home, he is careful to do what he can to shield it from the eyes of a potential crook.

“You’re not going to just leave it in the grass or leave it somewhere noticeable where someone walking by or a group of people see a box and say, ‘let’s take it,’” Vonn said.

It’s service that loyal online shoppers certainly appreciate.

“I find that they are really conscientious, and leave it on the side, in the storm door,” Christel Watson, an online shopper said.  “Or hide it under the rug. The wipe your feet mat by the front door.”

But unfortunately, Minneapolis police have reported several recent thefts of delivered packages across the city.

“This has been a crime of opportunity that has happened for years,” Karen Notsch, Minneapolis Police Department crime prevention specialist, said.

Notch explained that sometimes the bad guys will actually follow a FedEx or some other delivery truck and then pounce when they spot an opening.  With those kinds of tactics, Notch concedes that it may not matter where the driver tries to hide the package.

“They’re going to see how it is delivered,” Notch said.  “They’re going to watch for it. And if no one comes out right away and picks up the package or signs for it, they’re going to grab the package.”

Authorities tell Fox 9 it might not just be the boxed goods ordered online that the criminals are after.  There have been reports of fraud and stolen identity, as the crooks might also make off with receipts and other credit card information when they strike.

 “You should be able to have a package delivered to you and not have to worry about it,” Notch said. “But nowadays, you do have to be a little more alert.”

Suggestions for preventing losses
    -Make arrangements to have your parcels delivered to a neighbor if you are unable to be at home.
    -Ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye out for the delivery man or postal carrier and to take the package into their home until you return.
    -Be cautious about spreading the word that you are expecting a delivery.
    -Require a signature on all package deliveries.
    -Write specific instructions for the delivery company on where to leave your package.
    -Track the progress of certain packages you ship via the US Post Office.