This article was written by BenitoLink intern Jake Medina.
As an increasing number of packages are being delivered for the holiday season, package theft is also on the rise. One Hollister resident shared her recent story of coming face-to-face with a package thief.
Amanda Perry was home when someone parked in front of her house and pretended to ring her doorbell numerous times, before picking up a package from her porch and walking away. She said the package was not left in plain sight, so the thief had to look around to find it.
Perry confronted the thief and asked them to bring back her package. The thief cooperated and dropped the package back at the front door before returning to her car. Perry took pictures of the license plate, then dialed 9-1-1.
Her advice for others who might have this issue? Be neighborly.
“Be on the lookout for your neighbors and offer to take any neighbors packages if they are away,” Perry said.
Jeff Fitch, a local postal inspector, said residents should try to plan for when their packages will be delivered.
Most times when a package is delivered, a notification is sent to the receiver’s phone. Fitch said to go outside and retrieve the package right away. Don’t leave mail unattended, consider insuring packages, and report any thefts to law enforcement immediately. Stealing a package is a federal crime, and anyone convicted can serve up to five years in prison and be fined up to $250,000.
Hollister Police Chief Carlos Reynoso recommended that if someone isn’t going to be home for a delivery, they should send the package to where they work, or to a friend or relative’s house who will be home.
“You can also have a trustworthy neighbor keep an eye out and retrieve your package for you,” he said. “They would appreciate the same courtesy if they were expecting a package too.”
HPD encourages anyone who questions someone taking a package to be safe and keep a distance. If you see an unfamiliar person taking your neighbor’s package, ask them if they know the homeowners. If they are confrontational, Reynoso advises to get to a safe place. Try to document the description of the person and/or their vehicle.
“If the opportunity and the set of circumstances were not there, the person might not otherwise commit the crime,” Reynoso said.
BenitoLink requested information from HPD on how many package thefts have occurred this holiday season. The department was unable to provide that information because it does not differentiate a package theft from other thefts, Reynoso said.
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