Blog Post

Protect Your Cyber-Gifts from Thieves!

Reports are popping up across the country about thieves who are cashing in on cyber-sales by stealing the gifts off front porches and even breaking down church doors to rob gifts left under parish Giving Trees.

CBSlocal.com in Boston is reporting that three women were arrested after following a delivery truck, then stealing packages full of Christmas toys from the front porch of the buyer's home.

Thankfully, the driver saw the whole thing and tailed the women long enough to get their license plate number and report it to police. However, by the time they caught the women, they claimed to have gotten rid of the toys. The only thing left were the empty boxes.

The same thing happened this week in hard-hit Bayshore, New York. As if residents haven't endured enough suffering after Hurricane Sandy decimated their community in October, police arrested two men who were stealing packages off doorsteps in the Long Island community.

CBSlocal.com in New York is reporting that Albert Munoz, 21 and Freddy Benavides, Jr., 20, followed a UPS truck on Tuesday of this week and were stealing packages as they were being dropped off.

Thankfully, an off-duty New York State Trooper spotted the two and alerted police, who followed the thieves to a post office where they may have been planning to trail a postal truck next.

Thieving cyber-gifts is not new, but the problem has been growing right along with the increase in the number of people who now shop on-line rather than at the mall.

Eric Macom, who works at a Boston FedEx branch, said there are several things people can do to protect themselves and their purchases from thiefs.

First, consider choosing a shipping option that requires a signature, then have a neighbor grab the packages if no one is home when the truck arrives.

Second, FedEx and other delivery companies now offer an option for customers to have their purchases dropped off at the nearest retail or shipping location where they can pick them up themselves.

“We’ll hold it here for you, it ships directly to us, we’ll keep it nice and safe and protected for you,” Macom said.

Crimes such as these may be due to the continuing economic slump which is driving  people to desperate measures to provide for their families, either by thieving the gifts themselves or buying "hot" merchandise at lower prices.

It may also be fueling other Christmas-related crimes, such as the thieves who kicked in the door of a storage shed behind St. Anne's Parish in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts where hundreds of dollars worth of Christmas gifts were being housed for the parish Giving Tree project for needy children.

“Gift cards, toys, clothes, the children have requested and we tried to fill their requests. Many of those toys are all gone,” Rev. John Foley told CBSlocal.com in Boston.

The suspects are still on the loose. Shrewsbury Police are asking anyone who donated a gift card to the effort, and used a credit card to pay for it, to give them a call, because they may be able to track the thief when he or she tries to use the cards.

The good news is that the parish's Giving Tree program will go on. In addition to stepping up their call for more gifts, the parish reports that Hasbro is offering to replace all of the stolen items.

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