'They've nothing to lose:' Package, mail thieves becoming bolder
At 11:19 a.m. Monday, Brandi Alexander received a notification on her phone that someone was in her driveway.
"I looked and saw that is was my husband," Brandi said. "I then scrolled down on my home camera app and noticed a vehicle in my driveway earlier in the day that I did not recognize."
Brandi noticed a vehicle driving by her driveway following the mailman. She then noticed the vehicle reappear on her camera and back into her driveway. A man got out of the backseat of the car, walked up to her front door, grabbed a package, brought it into the vehicle and drove off.
"My heart stopped I panicked at first and then I just lost it," Brandi said. "This is my property-- my kids are here-- this is a violation of my privacy and this is my home."
Brandi says she had a few packages delivered to her front door but the thieves chose the biggest box. It more than likely wasn't what they were hoping for.
"Diapers," Brandi said. "Two boxes of diapers that we could really use right now."
The crime is becoming all too common and a way for thieves to make a quick buck.
"When they are stealing packages they are looking for things they can sell," Postal Inspector team leader Jacob Gholson said. "That's what it comes down to in my experience. They are looking for things they can pawn off, to make some quick cash in order to support their drug habit."
A few things you can do to ensure your items are delivered safely are to acquire a Post Office box, a lock box or have your items delivered to the post office. If your items are delivered via DHL, UPS or FedEx, it's a good idea to be aware when the packages arrive, alert a neighbor, and if you can, install cameras.
"Be aware, and if it says it was delivered and it's not there, report it to us," Gholson said. "Video surveillance is great because people that are involved in package theft are often involved in other types of mail theft."
Brandi Alexander posted video of the theft on the Facebook page, "Stolen in Alaska." Within minutes, she had people running-- enlarging the license plate and tracking down the owner.
The posting was quickly shared to the Facebook page, "Scanner Joe," which currently has a following of 53,000 people.
"It's a 24/7 job," Scanner Joe administrator Tisha Victory said. "I spend a lot of time on ASJ. There are five admins with all kinds of experience. People saw Brandi's post and within minutes ran the license plate. It's all about networking and knowing what you're doing. If you know how to look up a plate, it's easy."
Many people are turning to social media and using pages like Facebook as neighborhood watchdogs and forums of information happening in the community.
We don't just want people to join our page, we want them to join all the pages," Victory said. "Each page is run differently and you're going to get information from all these pages."
"The ironic thing is that I sold a car two years ago to the person registered to the car in the video," Brandi said. "I plan on giving her a call."
Mail and package theft is a federal offense, and if it happens you to, please call the police and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service
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